This graphic was on the front of SI.com most of the day on Monday, and it is currently sitting second, only behind a story about game 7 of the NHL finals. For not winning anything, LeBron James is attracting a lot of attention, and not in a good way.
There are so many areas where people are criticizing him: he didn’t play hard when it counted, he can’t live up to his championship promises, he’s crowned himself king before actually winning anything, he doesn’t understand that winning takes hard work, he’s alienated fans with one bad comment and decision after another.
If LeBron hasn’t hit rock bottom yet (in terms of his popularity), he’s awfully close. The other athletes who shared this unwanted spotlight at one time are another are few (think Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez). But no matter how deep LeBron digs his hole, the U.S. is a forgiving place for sports stars, and even LeBron can find some sunlight if he manages to make some good decisions. That’s why we have some PR advice for him:
- Stop talking: Every time you says something it comes across as arrogant and self-serving, so right now the best thing to do is say nothing. Go sit by your pool or spend time with your family, as long as you don’t talk to any reporters or tweet.
- Hire people that will tell you what you don’t want to hear: Yes, it’s that time, LeBron. You can’t just surround yourself with enablers that only tell you positive things. You need people that are critical, that say no, and that force you to say and do certain things no matter how much you don’t want to.
- Apologize: Make a YouTube video and post it via your Twitter account. In this video apologize for your collection of bad decisions and degrading statements. Use whatever excuse you want (you’re young, immature, delusional, whatever), but take accountability, and say that you’re going to change. Apologize for humiliating Cleveland on national TV. Tell fans that like everyone else, you are going to work harder because you have to earn a championship, it’s not something God has planned for you. And explain that your comments after game 6 were said in the frustrations and pain of losing, and that you value the NBA’s fans.