“What should I do? Shouldn’t I be a role model?”: When LeBron James impersonated Charles Barkley in an infamous Nike ad defending his decision to join the Miami Heat
Nike attempted to restore LeBron James’ image after his move to Miami by running an ad titled “What should I do?”
LeBron James has had one of the fastest turnarounds in NBA history when it comes to public perception of him. July 7and, 2010 and “The King” was one of the most beloved superstars to grace the NBA hardwood. His “come-up” story is truly remarkable, which makes it almost impossible to hate him.
However, come on July 8and that same year, almost everything would change for LeBron James and the way he was perceived by the general public. His decision to leave his national team the Cleveland Cavaliers for the glitz and glamor of South Beach immediately left a sour taste in the mouths of NBA fans.
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In fairness, LeBron had given the city of Cleveland an incredible 7 years of relative playoff success, including a trip to the NBA Finals. However, after realizing that the talent just wasn’t there to get him through, he teamed up with one of the top 3 shooters and power forwards in the league.
LeBron James and his “What should I do?” commercial.
Considering Nike agreed to pay LeBron James $13 million a year at the start of their contract, it’s safe to say the company was counting on him to be their highest-grossing star. Well, he was, alongside Kobe Bryant of course.
However, with his decision to bring his talents to South Beach not being well received by the public, Nike had to do something to keep James in a positive light.
So, they rolled out the iconic 90-second ad where the now 4x champion asks the audience, “What should I do?” He asks us several questions ranging from whether or not he should accept his role as a villain to whether he should, like Charles Barkley in the 90s, admit that he is not a model.
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The ad aired in November 2010, early in his career with the Miami Heat. In terms of pure public perception, it didn’t seem to change him too much as the hate he received was quite significant even after rolling out this ad.