LeBron James Presents The Decision, Part II: The Rationalization

LeBron James’

new Nike spot

is almost a masterpiece of critic-proofing, as James cycles through a series of postures—villain, goofball, self-promoter, pariah, etc.—that’s meant to demonstrate his awareness of every bad thing anyone has said about him since he made a public show of spurning the Cleveland Cavaliers to join an all-star edition of the Miami Heat.

The only criticism the commercial doesn’t anticipate or outflank is the criticism that James is only able to relate to the public through a television commercial. “What should I do?” he asks the viewer, over and over, as if the original TV special in which he announced his decision had been forced on him, as if the public had rudely violated his private decision-making process against his will. What should I do? James never asked the public that question, and he isn’t asking now. He asked Nike. Do this fake-self-aware rebranding campaign, Nike told him.