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View Full Version : Is LeBron James really the "self-appointed" chosen one?


milquetoast
07-14-2010, 09:12 PM
I put "self-appointed" in quotes because that's the term I'm questioning. I've heard the phrase "self-appointed chosen one" at least a couple of times since LeBron's televised ego stroke (I just heard Bryant Gumbel use that phrase on his HBO Program "Real Sports"). In his now famous open letter, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert used the phrase "self-declared former 'King' ".

Up until this point, I had assumed that he media came up with the monikers "King James" and "the Chosen One". Was it really James that named himself such? Or do the people now using the phrase not know what the term "self-appointed" means?

Least Original User Name Ever
07-14-2010, 09:27 PM
In high school, LeBron gave himself the nickname "King".

milquetoast
07-14-2010, 09:29 PM
So at least Dan Gilbert was correct in his letter.

Any one know about "the chosen one"?

Thanks!

Mahaloth
07-14-2010, 09:46 PM
In high school, LeBron gave himself the nickname "King".

Really? He gave it to himself?

Marley23
07-14-2010, 11:21 PM
So at least Dan Gilbert was correct in his letter.

Any one know about "the chosen one"?

Thanks!
"Across his back is an emblazoned banner, "Chosen 1," a name he received from the cover of Sports Illustrated while in high school.
So sayeth Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeBron_James#Tattoos) So no, not "self-appointed." He absolutely participated in the hype but he didn't give himself the name.

If there's a cite on him giving himself the nickname "King" I'd like to see it.

kingbighair
07-14-2010, 11:51 PM
He has Chosen 1 tattooed on his back and his Twitter name is KingJames. I'd say yes.

While it might not be technically self-appointed, it might as well be now.

Marley23
07-15-2010, 12:07 AM
He has Chosen 1 tattooed on his back and his Twitter name is KingJames. I'd say yes.
No question he participates fully in the hype and embraced the names. But then again so did Dan Gilbert when LeBron was making money for him. I think he question is whether or not LeBron gave himself the nicknames. Sports Illustrated definitely came up with "The Chosen One." You can see the cover online. It's from early 2002 and the rest of the headline reads "High school junior LeBron James would be an NBA lottery pick right now." Back then he wasn't trying to pull off an Abe Lincoln beard. With "King James," we'll see. I remember ESPN calling him that in the early days and I never heard he came up with that one himself. I do see people on a few other forums saying the same thing. I also see a Yahoo Answers post that says several people claim to have come up with it. Neither of those is definitive.

While we're at it, since these are nicknames and not formal titles something like "self-styled" or "self-proclaimed" would also work better than "self-appointed."

Justin_Bailey
07-15-2010, 03:25 AM
It looks like King James rose up organically as well.

http://hoopshype.com/articles/lebron_meyer.htm

Already named the "Chosen One" by "Sports Illustrated," it seems "King James" will be the next moniker to stick, as that is showing up on shirts worn by St. V. fans. Published reports say Nike and Adidas are the most likely to win the bid for LeBron's shoe contract, and the price likely will be in the $20 million to $25 million range, which will easily dwarf his first NBA contract.

http://espn.go.com/magazine/vol5no26next.html

Either way, LeBron Fever was off the charts after the Cleveland workout, even though critics still saw a kid who drifted to the perimeter on offense and looked indifferent on defense. Adidas and Nike didn't care. Adidas engraved his sneakers and made him a gold mouthpiece with "King James" across the front and "Gloria" across the molars. Nike handed him swooshed rubber-band wristlets with "King" on one side and "James" on the other.

milquetoast
07-15-2010, 06:45 AM
Thanks for the responses!

I am no fan of Lebron James, but it is disingenous of people to be using the term "self-appointed" when it's not accurate. In my opinion, it makes the people using the term incorrectly as petty as James himself.

While we're at it, since these are nicknames and not formal titles something like "self-styled" or "self-proclaimed" would also work better than "self-appointed."

"Self-proclaimed" seems a bit more accurate to me. But I'm surprised we haven't yet heard "self-annointed". :)

Jimmy Chitwood
07-15-2010, 08:45 AM
It's really fascinating the particular way that Lebron gets criticized for being famous. I've heard this idea repeated several times that he gave himself the nickname, and it's always dropped in so casually and so confidently the way it was here in post #2, like it's just a fact. Of course, that's bullshit -- he was like 15 when the King James talk started, for one thing; how on earth is anybody going to verify where it came from? -- but hey, so what? "King James," who does he think he is? Nobody gets bent out of shape that Dwight Howard thinks he's Superman and wears a Superman shirt -- oh my god, what a dick. Larry LEGEND? The hell you say!

With Lebron the backlash about his fame has been so severe that I'm not sure it matters what he actually does (although credit to you, milquetoast, for actually being interested). Certainly he's been a willing participant in his own rise to superstardom, but at some point he started to get blamed for it, which I can't understand. His high school games weren't just nationally broadcast, those broadcasts were heavily advertised. He wasn't the Next Big Thing as a rookie in the NBA, he was the Only Thing as a junior in high school. Presuming that there was a player just like Lebron James who really really really didn't want to be a marketing machine and didn't want to be the face of anything (and assuming that an attitude like that is even compatible with being that good) ... what could he have done about it? He's money in the bank for other people; he didn't create that via any means other than being as good as he is.

So he got a bunch of tattoos and played into that stuff and seems to be very arrogant about being the best player in the world. Hell, he probably is a jerk - that's pretty standard; a big difference with Lebron is it's also actually true, so other people who aren't him make more noise about it. It's like most people have no idea what any other good athletes are like. There are probably 40 other NBA and NFL players who have Chosen One tattoos. I even know a guy who's got one, though he isn't a professional athlete.

kingbighair
07-15-2010, 09:28 AM
While the nicknames might have been floating around in the ether without his doing, he fully embraced them and often refers to himself as those nicknames, which I think is pretty close to self-appointment. He did not have to accept them.

I do not think he is criticized for being famous. Of course haters are going to hate, so you will always have that contingent. I think he is criticized for buying into the persona of being a king, never having won a championship. You have to win in basketball to be considered a great, and people react negatively to seeing someone being treated like an MJ figure without winning anything. Kobe keeps on winning, but Lebron is the face of the NBA. That does not make sense to a lot of people.

Jimmy Chitwood
07-15-2010, 09:53 AM
That's exactly what I'm talking about. Somebody else gave him the name... but still, it's self-appointed. He's not criticized for being famous... just for being treated a certain way by other people. How does one avoid "buying into it"?

Justin_Bailey
07-15-2010, 10:03 AM
While the nicknames might have been floating around in the ether without his doing, he fully embraced them and often refers to himself as those nicknames, which I think is pretty close to self-appointment. He did not have to accept them.

But the second you "turn down" a fan-bestowed nickname, you look like an asshole. James is basically damned if he does and damned if he doesn't when it comes to all this fame and nickname stuff.

If I didn't know any better, I'd assume Lebron James was the second coming of Barry Bonds after all the news articles over the last two weeks or so.

Tom Scud
07-15-2010, 10:06 AM
Presuming that there was a player just like Lebron James who really really really didn't want to be a marketing machine and didn't want to be the face of anything (and assuming that an attitude like that is even compatible with being that good) ...

Barry Sanders is about as close as we've seen to this.

... or Barry Bonds, and we can all see what good his dislike of publicity did him.

kingbighair
07-15-2010, 10:43 AM
A nickname is something others call you. You do not have control over that. You do have control over what you call yourself. There is a difference, and people can tell. You do not call yourself the king when you wilt in the playoffs and run to another team with stars before you even hit your prime. Basketball fans with any sense of history know this is not the way the greats acted.

You avoid buying into it by not stating repeatedly that you want to be a billionaire, by not posing for numerous covers of SI and doing all kinds of interviews with ESPN, by not signing mega-deals with Nike and Coke before playing one minute, by not putting it out there that you are friends with every "cool" celebrity (Jay-z, Kanye, etc), by not talking about having lunches and getting business advice from Warren Buffett, by not creating a marketing agency and actively pursuing every big name player, by not making a documentary about yourself, by not wearing shirts with "check my stats" on the front, by not making every pregame all about you, an on and on. Individually, these examples are common among elite athletes. But combine all of these and it becomes clear that Lebron has marketed himself as a superstar who deserves being treated like a king since he left high school. It is his brand.

He has won nothing to deserve calling himself the king. He has control over the image that he markets, and people can see he is wearing no clothes.

jali
07-15-2010, 10:52 AM
I don't think it's arrogant to do a charity event and the Boy's and Girl's clubs made quite a bit of money during the 1 hour special.

I think it was great and I like LeBron James for doing this (http://www.wset.com/news/stories/0710/753648.html) and it earns the nickname "King" for me.

Quercus
07-15-2010, 10:58 AM
I'm mostly with kingbighair (though that's maybe not the best screen name for your posts, I'm just saying...). To be fair, LeBron didn't anoint himself as "the Chosen One"; that was ESPN, SI and the big sports media. But he certainly openly embraced that role more than was necessary, even before last week's debacle.
Sure, you're a professional athlete, you're not going to turn down a Nike endorsement deal, and you can't really control too much how they're going to market you, but you can control what you get tattooed on your own body, and you can definitely control how humble you are in interviews, etc., especially when you haven't won any championships or even had great playoff performances.

kingbighair
07-15-2010, 11:51 AM
To be fair, his game 5 performance against Detroit in 2007 might be the greatest playoff performance in history.

And I appreciate the irony in my screenname, but I assure you it has no regal connotations.

Jimmy Chitwood
07-15-2010, 12:31 PM
Barry Sanders is about as close as we've seen to this.

And, of course, he was selfish and a quitter when he retired to get away from it, and a loser and overrated because he never won a championship (which might have required "turning his back on" the team that drafted him, which he didn't want to do). And Bonds was selfish because he was seen as holding the media (who pretend they're "the fans") in contempt. "We" want a very specific narrative from the superstars we create, and almost every reaction they have to our demands is subject to criticism.

You do not call yourself the king when you wilt in the playoffs and run to another team with stars before you even hit your prime. Basketball fans with any sense of history know this is not the way the greats acted.

...

He has won nothing to deserve calling himself the king. He has control over the image that he markets, and people can see he is wearing no clothes.

Ultimately, even though you're getting more animated about it, you're returning to the same contradiction: he hasn't earned the right to be called this thing that other people decided he should be called. Somebody else called him King James; that's how he "earned" it. If you want to be outraged by that, be outraged at the person who decided King James was a good nickname.

(He doesn't call himself a king anyway, jesus; he's not Jim Morrison. What he does, like you said, is perpetuate a brand; he has warmup gear that says King James on it or whatever. But he didn't invent that image any more than he invented this notion that you win a championship and that makes you a different species of athlete. He's subject to both of them, whether he "deserves" it or not.)

You're criticizing him for not rejecting a perception that benefits him, because you've decided the perception wasn't earned. And that's just another issue of how somebody else perceives him. But in either case, that perception is external to him. He does what he does (which includes for instance, what? 29, 19 and 10 in the deciding game this year?) and people react. One of those reactions is a lot of people saying he's a big god damn deal. He doesn't owe anybody some kind of duty to forgo the fame or the marketing power that people are handing to him on silver platters. That's all part of another fictional narrative - the true great - that is entirely defined in hindsight. Who are the true greats? Well, Jordan, obviously. Because he never got caught up in any kind of branding or nickname silliness.

Marley23
07-15-2010, 12:52 PM
If you want to be outraged by that, be outraged at the person who decided King James was a good nickname.
Which, for the record, it isn't. It's better than LBJ, though. In googling around for the source of the nicknames I saw somebody on ESPN tried calling him "The Akron Hammer," which I think is a lot better than either of those.

It's more than fair to say a lot of the hype around LeBron was premature. That was sort of the whole point of dubbing him "The Chosen One," wasn't it? He was anointed as a future great player when he was a junior in high school. I'm pretty sure he's the only one whose high school games were broadcast on ESPN. Nevermind speculating, here is the article that accompanied SI's "Chosen One" cover. They also refer to him as "King James" in the third paragraph. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1024928/index.htm)

astorian
07-15-2010, 02:19 PM
One of the most unfair charges I keep hearing about LeBron James is that, “Unlike Michel Jordan, he doesn’t make his teammates better. He only cares about his own numbers, not about winning championships.”

Well, he just left Cleveland to play for a team where he THINKS (rightly or wrongly) he can win a championship. So much for him not caring about winning.

Moreover, I’m old enough to remember when it was an article of faith among media commentators (like the ever idiotic Skip Bayless) that, unlike Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan didn’t make his teammates better, and cared more about his own numbers than about winning championships!

That was a stupid and inaccurate reading of Jordan, and I’m inclined to think it’s a similarly dumb reading of LeBron James.

kingbighair
07-15-2010, 02:41 PM
(He doesn't call himself a king anyway, jesus; he's not Jim Morrison. What he does, like you said, is perpetuate a brand; he has warmup gear that says King James on it or whatever. But he didn't invent that image any more than he invented this notion that you win a championship and that makes you a different species of athlete. He's subject to both of them, whether he "deserves" it or not.)


He absolutely calls himself a king. Whose twitter feed is KingJames (http://twitter.com/kingjames)? What image is this (http://www.basketwallpapers.com/Images-02/King-LeBron-James-Wallpaper.jpg) trying to convey?

There is no contradiction. My point has nothing to do with what fans call him. I am saying he has not earned a description he has given himself.

He has no duty to reject what people call him. It is probably best for business. But if he does not, and people think his brand is unearned, he will face a backlash from fans. See the last 2 weeks for that.

Tom Scud
07-15-2010, 02:46 PM
Moreover, Iím old enough to remember when it was an article of faith among media commentators (like the ever idiotic Skip Bayless) that, unlike Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan didnít make his teammates better, and cared more about his own numbers than about winning championships!


Yep. Not even a Finals appearance until his seventh season, and until he did win one, the story was that unlike Magic (and of course Larry Bird), he was too selfish/a ball-hog/what-have-you to lead a team to a championship.

Justin_Bailey
07-15-2010, 03:00 PM
There is no contradiction. My point has nothing to do with what fans call him. I am saying he has not earned a description he has given himself.

As has been pointed out multiple times in this thread, he did no such thing. The fact that he has run with it is what makes him a colorful figure that the talking heads at ESPN (and most fans) love.

Look at some of the true greats: Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Shaquille O'Neal. They've got that swagger that fans love (and others love to hate). Lebron has it more than any other player in the NBA right now and he has the numbers to back it up. He is... to coin a phrase... The King.

gonzomax
07-15-2010, 05:02 PM
And, of course, he was selfish and a quitter when he retired to get away from it, and a loser and overrated because he never won a championship (which might have required "turning his back on" the team that drafted him, which he didn't want to do). And Bonds was selfish because he was seen as holding the media (who pretend they're "the fans") in contempt. "We" want a very specific narrative from the superstars we create, and almost every reaction they have to our demands is subject to criticism.



Ultimately, even though you're getting more animated about it, you're returning to the same contradiction: he hasn't earned the right to be called this thing that other people decided he should be called. Somebody else called him King James; that's how he "earned" it. If you want to be outraged by that, be outraged at the person who decided King James was a good nickname.

(He doesn't call himself a king anyway, jesus; he's not Jim Morrison. What he does, like you said, is perpetuate a brand; he has warmup gear that says King James on it or whatever. But he didn't invent that image any more than he invented this notion that you win a championship and that makes you a different species of athlete. He's subject to both of them, whether he "deserves" it or not.)

You're criticizing him for not rejecting a perception that benefits him, because you've decided the perception wasn't earned. And that's just another issue of how somebody else perceives him. But in either case, that perception is external to him. He does what he does (which includes for instance, what? 29, 19 and 10 in the deciding game this year?) and people react. One of those reactions is a lot of people saying he's a big god damn deal. He doesn't owe anybody some kind of duty to forgo the fame or the marketing power that people are handing to him on silver platters. That's all part of another fictional narrative - the true great - that is entirely defined in hindsight. Who are the true greats? Well, Jordan, obviously. Because he never got caught up in any kind of branding or nickname silliness.

Do not diss Barry sanders. He did not in because he got drafted by the Lions. They have been poorly managed for decades. When he decided to quit, the Lions had just cut or traded his best blockers for salary reasons. He knew he could not win there and he risked getting crippled for life. He was just the best runner in history playing for a crappy organization.
Lebron has been treated as something special since the 8th grade. It is hard too keep it together when you get so much attention as a kid. Then at 18 he becomes extremely wealthy. He begins to believe his ability to play basketball is a big deal and he is special. His entourage has told him how great he is for so long, he thinks he is the King.