After a summer where he was ostracized and became a pariah in his home state, the start of the NBA season on Oct. 26 couldn't have come soon enough for LeBron James.
The aftermath of "The Decision" may not be soon forgotten in Cleveland, but the rest of the country (and the world) would slowly let the negative aftermath of that fateful July night seep out of the back of their minds as they got nightly glimpses of James' greatness on the court. Each triple-double, each rim-rattling dunk, each incredible no-look pass would allow casual observers of the sport to forgive—after all, he only made one mistake.
The unveiling of his new 90-second Nike ad certainly didn't hurt either.
A wonderfully crafted spot that is more of a rebuttal to James' critics than it is an actual commercial for Nike products, LeBron took a huge first step in reinserting himself back in our lives...in a positive way, instead of how we interpreted him this offseason.
There's only one thing that stood out as a bit odd: James asked, "should I accept my role...as a villain?"
Even though it's obviously a hypothetical and rhetorical question, he knows the answer—a resounding no.
He doesn't want to be the bad guy. He wants us to like him, to admire him and to respect him. You can't blame him; he's been adored since his high school days.
Fortunately for James, he still has many, many years to work himself back into the public's good graces. It won't be difficult as long as he stays on the right path and continues to conduct himself in his usual dominant manner on the basketball court.
Here are a few suggestions for our former King on how to keep building from the positive PR momentum generated from his Nike commercial.