What I learned from LeBron

July 9, 2010

First let me start by saying I believe everyone is entitled to switch careers, positions, companies, etc., depending on their needs and wants. Athletes shouldn’t be any different. However the way in which we do things is important.

As much fun as it would be to have our industry reflect the professional sports world, thankfully it doesn’t. I wasn’t courted as a sophomore Ball State student by the biggest agencies in the US to come out early and sign on with millions of dollars to bring my talents. I didn’t come to Hetrick from my previous employer because I felt I could add more Addy’s to the trophy case. And last week after I wrote a strategic brief and was walking to lunch downtown I wasn’t flooded by people telling me, “I am a HUGE fan. The way you articulated the client’s point of difference and audience segmentation was sick.” (Ok, I did buy the intern lunch for saying that in a crowd of people.)

My point is, I will never know what it is like to piss a whole city off (at least I hope not) or have the stress of millions of expectations set upon me from people I will never meet. But what I do know is that my reputation or  “brand” if you will, would take such a huge hit from showing such an arrogant, selfish, and narcissistic approach to leaving a current employer that I would have a hard time finding work again.

We all have reasons for why we leave. Some sound or feel more noble possibly, but either way the way we treat people, show respect, and hold ourselves accountable for moving forward is every bit as important as the work we leave behind.

So “King” Lebron, let’s see if karma hits you where it hurts. And let’s also see if the King moniker has an odd effect much like Elvis and Michael. I guess if LeBron has an amusement park in Miami and starts putting peanut butter on his Cuban sandwiches we’ll know.

What do you all think?



  1. This is some funny stuff, Ike. The whole media event this became only fuels my disdain for professional athlete prima donas spotlight hogs.

    • I agree. I’m afraid of what is next.

  2. Ike –
    I think there’s a Labron in every crowd. How about the employee who’s so ready to go that they send “all company” emails with the subject line,”Adiós?”
    Really, who cares? Send me a LinkedIn invite and we’ll keep tabs on your progress.

    Labron upset Cleveland. But unlike any city, Cleveland’s been disappointed again (and again, and again). They’ll get over it.
    At least Browns Football will get them to take their mind off of Labron leaving.

    • I love the Linkedin comment. That cracked me up.

  3. Perhaps James didn’t feel like having his money confiscated to pay for that bloated jobs program called Ohio state government:


    If that’s the case, then I say Godspeed, Lebron.

    • I’ll leave the policy stuff to you, but wow.

  4. I blogged on this last week too, but the opposite POV.

    First: what was arrogant, narcissistic and selfish? It was the highest viewed program in what, like EVER? on ESPN…so “we” were interested. I didn’t see him self promoting leading up to this. ESPN and Nike turned the announcement into high theater. Everyone was chasing HIM for the answer. I didn’t see him publicizing every stop on his tour. In Chicago we didn’t even know he’d been here until he was gone.

    Did he take more money? Did he blast the team on the way out of town? Did he say the owner sucked? No.

    And how many times have we roasted athletes for being greedy or all about the money? This guy took a LOT less money to play with his friends!

    On the other hand, did you see the owner’s post on the Cavs website? REALLY classy. Is that the kind of guy you’d like to work for? Let’s see: he’s fired an NBA Coach of the Year who’d helped Lebron turn the franchise around; had his very highly regarded GM resign without a job in hand; had Tom Izzo turn down TWICE the huge money he’s making now to coach there; and now he’s seen the hometown lad turned “king” leave for a third less money to play elsewhere with his friends. Genius, or Al Davis of the NBA? You wanna play there?

    I grow weary of us seeking blame for everything these guys do. Lebron gave Cleveland a chance; their response was to sign an aging Shaquille O’Neal. He owes Cleveland? Anybody read the Plain Dealer the morning after Boston eliminated the Cavs? THERE was a town that was supportive of Lebron. LoL. He couldn’t do it on his own and they were pissed. He chose to go elsewhere and they are pissed.

    Look, he took less money to go to a better opportunity. That’s why this country was FOUNDED.

    I say more power to him; long live the King.

    • Greg,

      I apologize for just getting this. It ended up in the spam filter. I do respect your POV, especially the last part. I do agree with seeking a better opportunity and not feeling the least bit ashamed to do so. I guess I always wonder at what point will an athlete tell their sponsors, no thanks, I just want to take less money and move. No shows, no hooplah, just business.

      As for the owner, who in their right mind will go with him to win a championship? That guy has issues.

      Thanks for the feedback and comments!

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