In July, the NBA seemed to have reached gold, as LeBron James, the most famous athlete in North America and perhaps the world, joined the league's premier franchise in the entertainment capital of the world at or near the top of his powers. The NBA should have retweeted the news with a bag of emoji money.
Oh. The post-Kobe malaise of the Lakers was stronger than LeBron's ability to age to extract LA from mediocrity. THE. He dropped out of the playoff race in February and found himself eliminated in March.
The NBA not only gets a dying franchise from the Lakers, but, for the first time in a long time, the league will have a postseason without its biggest star.
Without a doubt, this is an absolute disaster for the league, the Lakers and LeBron.
James, on the other hand, came to L.A. to give his young family everything he wanted and to build his second act as an entertainment mogul. Space Jam 2 is coming. Spring Hill Entertainment from LeBron is producing left and right projects. Bronny James will possibly be the most famous high school player since his father.
But the. I also tried to return the glory to a historical franchise, but broken. It was about growing the personal legend of James in an already legendary shirt, joining the pantheon of Mikan, Baylor, West, Kareem, Magic, Van Exel, Shaq and, yes, Kobe. It was about attacking the Warriors from another angle, perhaps with another star companion.
It was not about winning 35 games and being on a beach at Easter.
The status of LeBron as a legend of the Lakers is currently somewhere between Karl Malone and Gary Payton. This is a nightmare.
Nobody needs to explain why this is such a dark turn for the Lakers, that they can not seem to get out of a hole of their own making. They Finally He recruited an important free agent, the greatest free agent of all! – Y is it is the result. It's like saving for years to buy a new car and destroy it on the way home. What an incredible disappointment.
As for the NBA, not only could it not see the full potential of a star as bright as LeBron under the lights as bright as they are for the Lakers in Los Angeles, but the league now does not even have its biggest star in the playoffs absolutely. The Eastern Conference playoffs have not always been super attractive in the last decade and a half, but the league could always sell fans and occasional spectators with the presence of LeBron. Just watch, and you could witness something glorious.
That promise will not be fulfilled this spring.
In fact, if the rankings become bitter in the playoffs, this could show the NBA the dangers of trusting a star by far. It should not be lost on anyone that this league suffered a lot when Michael Jordan retired a second time after the 1997-98 season. Much of the success of the league in the 90s was concluded in the domain of Jordan and the Bulls. When that was over, the league (and the only footwear company that interwove with the league, Jordan and, not coincidentally, LeBron) did not have a quick turnaround in their arsenal.
The NBA has other exciting superstars to put on a pedestal. Many of those exciting superstars will be be in the playoffs Perhaps this postseason without LeBron can be, instead of a burden for the winnings, an opportunity to continue building the next LeBrons.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, given his incredible talent, shocking physique and golden personality, seems to be the obvious successor to LeBron's Golden Boy of the NBA title. Giannis plays for the best-plated Bucks of the East, a team without a lot of recent successes, but one with a fairly historic history in the previous decades of the league. Antetokounmpo has a global fan base, and he looks a lot like LeBron in the sense that he has captured the hearts of the occasional fans who experience it, as well as basketball fans. Like LeBron, Giannis is for everyone (except those who hate in Boston or Philadelphia).
The NBA put Giannis and the Bucks on Christmas day … in the noon game against the Knicks.
If Giannis is the next LeBron in a marketing sense, the league needs to make marketing a higher priority. That may start now in LeBron's vacuum, with the Bucks looking like a legitimate threat in the NBA Finals and Giannis potentially winning the MVP. Assuming the Bucks do not leave early, this postseason should be to make sure all the kids in this country who are moderately interested in basketball spend all summer emulating Giannis on the court and ordering an Antetokounmpo shirt and shoes (reportedly, the Nike Freak hit this summer) for his next birthday.
Zion Williamson, of course, will be a great opportunity for post-LeBron marketing. Luka Doncic, Trae Young, a redeemer and afterburner Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, the young and smiling kings, Joel Embiid, the leftover warriors, maybe someday Anthony Davis, maybe one day Karl Anthony Villages – there are options. But the NBA and Nike must start investing in the players to get something from them in a position to capitalize on true world fame when the opportunity presents itself.
Otherwise, I guess we'll all wait for Bronny.