9 years ago an 18 year old high school basketball phenom decided to bypass college and go straight to the pros. He was immediately castrated for doing so because so-called “basketball aficionado’s” wanted him to go to college and “learn how to play the game”. Lebron promptly won the Rookie of the Year award over Dewayne Wade who played 3 years at Marquette, and Carmelo Anthony that played 1 year at Syracuse. He did something only 2 other players in the history of the NBA had done, average over 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. The other 2 players that accomplished this were Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson, two of the best players the game has ever WITNESSed, pun intended. Looks like things worked out!
During his rookie season he was crowned King James by the marketing heads at Nike and as any 19 year old would have done, if put in the same situation, he accepted the title and ran with it. But regardless of what he did, anyone that knows endorsement deals know that they have a lot of control over your on and off the court image, so he had little to no input into the decision. Besides, if you were offered $90 million to endorse a shoe, and be crowned as a king, you would have made the same decision as he did with no hesitation.
Two years later, in 2005, he made another decision that had sports pundits, business execs and anybody with an opinion up in arms. The Internets was on fire. How could this young [black] athlete be so brazen? Lebron fired his agent and hired his long time friends to run his fastly growing empire. Everyone had something negative to say about this move. He was making the biggest mistake of his life, his career as a major endorser was dead in the water. How could he let these young [black] kids RUiN his career like this? But Lebron had faith in the abilities of his friends and they never skipped a beat, gaining more and more endorsements and helping their lifelong friend build an even greater empire. Once again things worked out the way he planned them!
The following year, in 2006 he led his team to the playoffs but they got knocked out in the Eastern Conference semifinals by Detroit. The next year, in 2007, he led his team to the Finals for the first time in franchise history but was defeated in 4 games by the San Antonio Spurs. The following year they were knocked out in the semifinals and the year after they got Shaq to help him out. They made it back to the conference finals but were defeated by Orlando.
In 2010, Lebron’s last year under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, they went back to the playoffs and were defeated by Boston in the conference semifinals once again. This would be his last year wearing a Cavalier uniform; The Decider had decided to use free agency to take his talents to a new team.