My Radio

My attempts to channel what's playing on the many stations of my mind

Lebron: The New Kanye

Posted by and1grad on November 30, 2010

On September 13, 2009, during the MTV VMAs, Kanye West jumped on stage, interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. He proceeded to tell the crowd, and essentially the world, that Beyonce should have won. He ended this drunken ramble (brown liquor STAYS causing bad decisions) with the now famous Kanye Shrug, grabbed his lady, and drunkenly left the event. This comedy of errors, while hilarious, brought Kanye a tsunami of negative media attention…dwarfing that of entertainers that were being accused of actual crimes or other more harmful acts. I mean…you woulda thought the guy was OJ Simpson.

That said, I dont exactly cry for Kanye. His character, and actions, had been in question for years but he was normally given a pass to some degree. IMO, he got what was coming to him. I thought it would be a humbling experience for him. I was mistaken. However, you could make the argument that the negative publicity influenced him to get out of the limelight (somewhat) and work on his craft. The product of which being “My Dark Twisted Fantasy”…an album which is absolute FIRE. This isnt news to many, if any, of you…so why do I bring it up?

Often in life, story arcs mirror each other. People follow the same blueprints to success and failure all the time. Sometimes they’re SO similar, you would swear you were having deja vu. I’m having it right now. I present to you, one Lebron James.

On July 9, 2010, ESPN aired “The Decision,” an hour-long show centering around where Lebron would play the next season. During this show, Lebron clumsily proclaimed that he would “take his talents to South Beach” then proceeded to attempt to tell Cleveland something akin to “Its not you, its me.” Needless to say, to anyone who hasnt had their head in the sand, it didnt quite go over so well. I’m actually not sure that breakup strategy has ever worked…but I’ve never broke up with my lady on cable tv. As such, the city of Cleveland, playing the jilted lover, acted out in the way jilted lovers act out. Stuff got thrown in the street, stuff got burned, angry words were said, and so on. Some real Waiting to Exhale type ish.

Since that day, Lebron has received the type, and amount, of criticism that I havent seen since…well…Kanye West. EVERY single thing…every misstep, every hiccup, bump, brick, or quote, Lebron does is amplified, and criticized, to a spectacular degree. During the summer, he tweeted something about having haters and keeping them in mind. He was CRUSHED for it. It seems the more inane the action, the more apt for criticism. Of course, a fair amount of the criticism IS justified…but the majority is just squawking really. That said, he’s taking a beating on all sides because the Miami Heat are also failing…and therein lies the difference between Kanye & Lebron in this situation. Kanye came up out the other side and is winning.

After his major public gaffe, Kanye did what Lebron is currently doing…apologizing & constantly trying to please everyone. However, it didnt take long for that to end. Kanye has since embraced that he is an unrepenting asshole and has decided to just go with it. He’s turned that into part of his brand and is growing it. Lebron, however, is still in the process of appealing to the public. His “Rise” commercial is evidence enough of that. While the ending message of that commercial is along the lines of “I’ma just do me”…fact is, the commercial probably wouldnt be necessary if that were the case. In the commercial, he asks “Should I accept my role…as a villain?” (Um…yes. It worked for Kobe.) He follows it up with “Should I stop listening to my friends?” (YES!) If you think about it, Lebron’s “RISE” commercial is similar to Kanye’s “Power” single. However, his “album” will be what he does on the court. We say a lot about what the Heat lack and what their problems seem to be…but the reality is, on that team, Lebron has enough tools to put together a certified classic…and he, along with the rest of his team, are failing at it.

Kanye went to work, used the pieces/artists at his disposal, and put together an album that may be considered a classic. Lebron, its time to put that hard hat on and wreck a court. You’ve followed Kanye’s story thus far…might as well see it all the way through.

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One Response to “Lebron: The New Kanye”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by and1grad and and1grad, Chris Stevens. Chris Stevens said: Interesting post by @and1grad – http://bit.ly/eoZLgS […]

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