According to an SI.com poll which ran after James made it known that he would take his talents to South Beach, 65 percent of nearly 22,800 respondents selected James as “an egomaniac.” Sixty-one percent of a similar number of voters within the same poll stated that although they once had a positive opinion of James, they had changed their mind about the two-time regular season MVP.
Bad as it seems now for James and his future marketing prospects, some say his critics will very likely come back and embrace him.
“I think [his disapproval] is a blip,” said Ed O’Hara, Senior Partner at SME, a brand consultant firm in New York City. “Look, we forgave Tiger Woods, he’s back in action. When LeBron wins, which he will do, his reputation and brand will be galvanized.”
It’s probable, but the whole “Decision” was a PR nightmare, and not because of where he decided to ultimately play. The way it was handled, reported, and broadcasted was amateurish. But in the end, it made tons and tons of money and a lot of money was raised for charity. It will remain to be seen if winning transforms James back to where he was. There’s no question his brand took a tremendous hit.
While we’re on the subject, check out this piece from SI’s Joe Posnanski.