Lebron James Uses ESPN & Social Media to Grow His Brand 6

Even though the NBA hasn’t had a basketball game since June 17th, the league is attracting more attention then any other sport right now, thanks to the 2010 free agent class, which is lead by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

While Bosh and Wade have been publicizing their free agent experience over Twitter and YouTube, no one has taken advantage of the media quite like James, who often refers to himself as King James.

Yesterday James launched a Twitter account which has quickly attracted approximately 250,000 followers, despite only have three tweets (none of which reveal anything interesting). James also launched his own website, which appears to be strictly for announcing his free agent decision.

However, in the most ego-stroking move of all, James’ camp has contacted ESPN to arrange for an hour-long special from 9:00pm – 10:00pm ET tomorrow during which he will make his announcement (which is being called “The Decision”). While ESPN will strike ratings gold with this special, it’s also an example of why the network is unable to cover James’ and his buddies without bias. Simply put, ESPN uses this young group of attention-seeking players as much as they use ESPN. This results in large staged events like tomorrow’s news conference, and constant attention to non-stories like James’ elbow “injury” during the playoffs which miraculously disappeared following the Cavs’ loss to the Celtics.

When people across the country sit down at 9:00pm tomorrow to learn where James will sign his next contract, many will do so with a sick feeling in their stomach, knowing that James has been able to use mainstream and social media to manipulate them, and that ESPN is willing to do anything for “The King.” However, the viewers will be there, which is enough to make James happy (as he lives for the attention) and the NBA happy (as it has never received this much attention during the off-season). However following the announcement, there will be one city of people that love James, while the rest of the country criticizes him for his large ego and inability to win just one game in the NBA finals during his first 7 seasons in the league.

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