Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Power of Celebrity

This Lebron thing has gotten out of hand.

For almost a month now, the world (or at least the world of the NBA) has eagerly awaited the decision of whether or not Lebron James would remain a Cleveland Cavalier or move on to the seemingly greener pastures of Chicago or New York. A decision can’t be made until at least July 1st, when Lebron becomes a free agent, but that hasn’t stopped the ever-increasing speculation.

And now even celebrities may be getting in on the act.

According to several sources, the city of New York is encouraging its more recognizable residents, like Chris Rock and Donald Trump, to woo the superstar athlete away from his Ohio roots to the razzle dazzle of the Big Apple.

Come to New York! It's been great for my career!
Just check out the preview for my new movie! Awesome!

So, really, this isn‘t even about basketball. It’s about using celebrity status to influence someone to do something. And it’s about celebs using a popular topic to make sure no one forgets your name

I mean, I’m sure that several of these celebs are hoops fans, but looking at the list of names, I find it hard to believe that all of those enlisted to entice James are big basketball buffs dieing to see the Knicks win a championship ring (Whoopi Goldberg? Really?). Instead, it just seems like a chance to gain publicity for themselves by getting involved in an “issue” that almost everyone is following.

And to be perfectly honest, when it comes to name recognition, Lebron can probably go toe-to-toe with almost anyone on that list.

Really all this does is further confirm the kind of emphasis our culture places on celebrities. Trying to get a superstar athlete to play for your team? Courting him with the promise of a talented team and coach and a rich basketball history just won't cut it now. Get Alec Baldwin instead.

-Jennifer Downing

Photo taken from
Video taken from Youtube