Aside from Tiger Woods, it's hard to think of any professional athlete right now that needs an image rehab more than LeBron James.
After publicly ripping the heart out of the city of Cleveland during his one hour special "The Decision", LeBron James has become one of the most hated sports figures in the country.
As if that wasn't bad enough, James also seems a little lost right now. His recent Nike commercial is an honest question posed to his fans: What do you want from me?
Well, the public has made it more than clear what they want from him. Whether or no James understands that yet is his problem. The fact of the matter is, though, LeBron James needs to get to work on making himself look better in the public spotlight, and what better way to do that than through endorsements?
What do you say we take some stress off of LeBron and give him some potential endorsement ideas that could change his public identity?
Here are 23 endorsements that just might make us like him a little more, for one reason or another.
It has been a long time since I saw someone exploit a company in the way that LeBron exploited Nike in his recent commercial.
Don't get me wrong, LeBron has done a lot of great ad work for Nike, and some of the And1 commercials are phenomenal, but those commercials derive their value from two sources: Comedy and athletic ability.
While there is a comedic aspect incorporated into LeBrons most recent work for Nike, the commercial is clearly not about the shoes that they were supposed to be about. Instead, it was LeBron trying to justify himself to the world.
Unless he wants to go back to showing off his talent in an And1 commercial, he needs to stay away from Nike.
Can't you just see the catch phrase now?
"Trust me, I sent Cleveland fans to the doctor"
*Cue drum riff
But seriously, LeBron probably sent a good amount of Cleveland fans to psychologists (and cardiac specialists).
*Cue drum riff
Alright, enough with the bad jokes.
In all seriousness, when/if the time comes around where LeBron feels like it's ok to poke fun at this whole fiasco, this interesting bit of comedy just might be worth considering.
If Dwight Howard gets a spotlight ad, how about LeBron?
The more people are forced to consider him as an athlete and not a person, the less they might think about him as a person, and that's the key for LeBron.
The comedy is too good to pass up.
Replace the main caveman with LeBron, it's pretty easy to see.
The first part of the commercial would be the serious bit. LeBron is constantly reminded of The Decision wherever he goes, and all he wants to do is escape from that. It gets across the message that he feels bad about his decision, which would draw sympathy from people.
The second half, though, would be more of the people joking with LeBron. Just imagine the other cavemen being replaced with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
Good one, right?
Hey, the sooner LeBron can get people laughing about The Decision instead of burning his jerseys, the better.
Maybe I have an overactive imagination, but I could see LeBron being the focus of another DirecTV ad just like this one. It'd go something like this:
"I got what I wanted. I'm playin' for keeps with the best talent in the NBA. But when DirecTV tells me I can watch my old team at a discounted price, I can't help it."
Mind you, I'm no script writer, but giving LeBron the opportunity to say (scripted or not) that he misses the Cavs in any respect sounds like a good idea to me.
Stepping away from the comedy for a second, nothing says "I care" like being the voice of a charity, especially one as great as the Ronald McDonald House.
LeBron already has an endorsement from McDonalds, so extending himself to this part of the organization wouldn't be too difficult, and it brings up the whole, "LeBron cares about the children," bit that the next club does.
LeBron is already a huge activist for the Boys and Girls Club of America, and now is the time when he needs to take that to the next level.
Nothing says respect me more than providing for an organization that practically everyone in the US has been associated with at some point.
I'm not sure why these commercials seem to have stopped all of a sudden, but LeBron James would fit perfectly into one of these bits.
"Imagine this chicken is your hard drive, and the Miami Heat's star small forward LeBron James is a computer virus. LeBron James does not like Chicken..."
So on and so forth.
It'd get some good laughs, allow people to make jokes about LeBron James as a virus, and, once again, will take minds off the The Decision.
Remember this commercial?
How about more commercials like this.
Less LeBron the person, more LeBron the athlete.
There are too many good plays here not to go with it.
For the betterment of LeBron, should he ever decide to leave Miami (especially of that decision also involves him going back to Cleveland), the "Have it your way" slogan is too perfect to pass up.
Plus, for the more comical aspect of things, there is always a possible play on the "Don't Mess with the King" bit that BK does.
I'm sure most of you remember this movie fondly.
As much as it would pain me to see it redone, it seems giving LeBron the starting role in this new movie would give people a whole new perspective on him, whether it be fact or fiction.
I feel like I should be concerned that the first thing I though of when LeBron took a bite out of that donut in his recent Nike commercial was, "Man, I could go for some Dunkin' Donuts right now."
He's already sold one person, so why not give it a shot?
Besides, the Dunkin' part of Dunkin' Donuts is so open to basketball players it's not even funny.
Again,returning to the more serious side of things, LeBron could really benefit from partnering with the American Cancer Society.
Most professional sports leagues have taken up this sort of cause in one way or another, especially during the month of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), and so LeBron has likely done something through the NBA along these lines, but giving money away to a cause that affects so many people like cancer shows that he cares about people and not so much about his money.
Blizzard has already used Ozzy Osbourne, Mr. T, and Verne Troyer to promote World of Warcraft, so why not LeBron next?
He could easily promote their next in game item or environment change, and the commercial could provide some quality comedy.
He'd also be introducing himself to millions of gamers, people who likely know very little about him, which is probably a good thing.
I'm forgoing Aston Martin here since working with an American car company would probably be more beneficial for LeBron.
If he has the hops, why not jump over a car for Ford? It shows off how awesome of an athlete is, makes him seem a little less villain-ish (provided he has fun with it like Kobe seems to have), and it doesn't require any speaking, reducing the possibility of him saying something stupid.
This year was a year of incredibly horrible natural disasters, from earthquakes to tsunamis, and multitudes of celebrities flocked to organizations like the Red Cross in an attempt to do what they could to help, but also to encourage others to help.
I never saw LeBron say or do anything that would indicate that he cared.
If he would just reach out, do a public service announcement, or try to garner support for one of the Red Cross aid campaigns, it would do wonders for his public image.
Giving money to natural disaster funds has a way of making celebrities look really good.
Imagine a basketball version of this commercial featuring LeBron James scoring the commercial-ending points with a slam dunk over Pau Gasol (I know, it's ridiculous, but it's supposed to make him look good).
Not only would that likely do wonders for the visibility of Adidas, but that video would go viral on YouTube, I can guarantee it, and it would thus everyone would start to talk about LeBron the athlete again.
Could you imagine one of these commercials featuring the Coors Light guys standing to the side of The Decision stage?
I feel like it would give LeBron the chance to poke fun at what he has now realized was a big mistake, and it would reach a wide audience. If you can't learn to laugh at it, it's going to eat you up, or so the saying goes.
If this commercial doesn't jack you up, I don't know what will.
That's beside the point, though. The point is, this commercial has a very strong message that is especially pertinent to athletes.
Put LeBron James at the center of one of these ads, and it not only gives him an opportunity to show off his athleticism, but it also puts him right next to that mentality of drive, perseverance, and a desire to be the best. That's what he needs.
Not only does Sprite have its fingers all over the NBA, but you can see in this video why LeBron would be perfect.
The whole concept behind this commercial is rejuvenation, a theme that James absolutely needs to stress and take advantage of during his 'rebirth' in Miami.
As a side note, he is already sponsored by Sprite, but I do still feel like he isn't quite taking advantage of ad campaigns like this.
I think LeBron would want more than anything to be associated with the phrase, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there" (although insert LeBron James instead of good neighbor).
State Farm has done a great job with the magical jingle ad campaign, and a guest appearance by LeBron (in a helping fashion) would cast a good light on him.
It's too bad that LeBron couldn't snap the Zigtech commercial bit, but, should Reebok decide to do more stuff like it, he should absolutely jump on it.
These commercials have, for some reason, become wildly successful, they require little to no speaking, and they animated the life of the player, which could be used to put a positive spin on himself as a person.
I remember watching this commercial for the first time and having no words to describe it.
LeBron James is alread sponsored by Glaceau, so why not use that to do another commercial like this? I hate to continue referring to the same point, but getting people laughing is better than having them spew hatred towards you 24/7.
The comments section is ready and waiting.
Like what you see? Follow me on Twitter @chriseggemeyer