When you’re someone like LeBron James, your name is sure to land in major headlines around the world. Yet, despite the bevy of press surrounding him, it’s not often that we gain genuine insight into his mindset and personal ideology.
Quotes and comments are generally delivered in the form of interviews carefully scheduled by publicists (with meticulous media guidelines of the NBA hanging overhead), And are then filtered first by journalists and later by fans, naysayers and even the most casual spectators.
Back in 2010, LeBron James sent basketball devotees in frenzy with “The Decision,” a 75-minute ESPN live special in which he announced his move from Cleveland to the Miami Heat. Leading up to the segment, broadcast outlets, news websites and print mags bombarded the public with promos for “The Decision.” It wasn’t long before parodies made their rounds and soon, the campaign became something akin to a media circus.
This time around, he took a simpler approach—an as-told-to personal essay inside Sports Illustrated, the sports media bible, in which he explains himself “uninterrupted” to the public.
The opening paragraph captures his intent beautifully—“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart.”
Immediately, we know this isn’t a standard interview. He goes on to explain his relationship with the Heat and then circles back to his goals as a Cavalier, even noting, “I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.”
Aside from giving SI the exclusive with an emotional appeal, this particular decision (2.0, if you will) is a great reminder for any publicist that sometimes less is more.
This was an exclusive chance for LeBron to really connect with his audience, in his words with clarity and poise. With Sports Illustrated as his stage, LeBron was ready to tell the world, “I’m Coming Home.”