SportsCenter is presenting a three-part series focusing on LeBron James starting Wednesday, Oct. 20, and debuting on each day’s 9 a.m. ET program. Outside the Lines will air Parts 1 & 3 Friday (3 p.m., ESPN) and a longer version of Part 2 on Sunday (9 a.m. ESPN).
Poll: Fans’ Attitude Toward LeBron (today)
By the time Lebron James’ “Decision” made him a reality in Miami, he was facing a national barrage of harsh editorial criticism. An ESPN/Seton Hall sports poll of more than 900 people taken the first week of October gauged the fans’ attitude toward James.
- View James Favorably: white fans 32% black fans 65%
- James leaving Cleveland had no impact on how fans view him: 51.6%
“He’ll never be Jordan. This clearly takes him out of the conversation. There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win as ‘The Man.’” – Charles Barkley
Lebron’s Reputation: Marketing and Legacy after “The Decision” (Thursday)
According to Q Scores, which tracks the appeal of celebrities, James’ likability was highest last January (fourth among active athletes behind Peyton Manning, Troy Polamalu , Brett Favre). Last month, he ranked 78.
- In ticket sales, the top five NBA games in 2010-11 are Heat games — StubHub
- Miami home game ticket sales are up 300% from last year – StubHub
- In the past month, Heat merchandise generated 5 times more revenue than the same period last year — Princeton Retail Analysis
“I think what he did was wrong: he announced it, he made a spectacle of it, and I think it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. However, from a business standpoint it was brilliant…He became the NBA conversation, and he has hurdled his brand forward in ways that are immeasurable today.” — Ed O’Hara, sr. partner SME Marketing
The Spurned City: How Clevelanders are Dealing with James’ Departure (Friday)
A book Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote dealing with loss outlined the five stages individuals go through when dealing with grief and tragedy. After losing the icon of their city, Cleveland citizens are still reeling from “The Decision.”
“It was like the people’s faces were like they saw a ghost. I don’t know if everyone stopped breathing at once, but a silence came over the bowling alley, just like the end of the world.” – Jarrett Jones
“My office is nothing but Lebron James and Cleveland Cavaliers. You couldn’t even see the floor. The day after ‘The Decision,’ I came to work and I took every last piece of Lebron James, I put it in a garbage bag and I took it out back to the dumpster.” – Don Crump
‘If my dog would have died earlier that day, I would have probably been more depressed about LeBron leaving Cleveland than I was about my dog dying.” – John Liberatore
“This city has been hurt before by athletes leaving. And, we lost the Cleveland Browns. I mean, we lost a team, and it came back. We’ll survive without LeBron James.” – Mike Sokolowski
“I think he (James) will go down as worse than Art Modell as far as this city goes. I think he will end up worse than Art Model, and Art Model still isn’t welcomed back to Cleveland.” – Calvin Painter
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