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Nike x LeBron James – ‘Rise’

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At the snap of a finger, LeBron James went from beloved savior of the NBA to one of the most hated professional athletes in the history of sports. The city of Cleveland reacted to their king’s departure by transforming themselves from a group of loyal followers to a spiteful rebel faction, burning his wine and gold ’23’ jersey to the ground and writing hateful letters. His decision to leave Cleveland and sign a multi-year contract with the Miami Heat wasn’t exactly widely praised but it was a decision he made for himself – prioritizing winning rings over personal achievements. Just seven years into his career, LeBron could not accomplish any more as an individual; MVPs, scoring titles, All-Star Games, Gold Medals, a signature shoe line, endorsements up the wazoo – he’s got it all.

In this latest advertisement by Nike, LeBron James asks the audience “What Should I Do?”. In an attempt to kill multiple birds with one stone, LeBron addresses all the criticism he’s received since his decision in one fell swoop, as he wonders if he should believe that he’s ruined his legacy as he speaks before an empty banquet hall during a mock Hall of Fame induction ceremony and relives the classic Charles Barkley commercial from the 90’s while stating “I am NOT a role model”. LeBron wraps it up with one final question: “Should I be who YOU want me to be?”. Is this an attempt to ‘save’ his image or to simply tell his side of the story, or is this just a reminder that the media may have twisted his desire to win at the highest level into something of an evil-doers deed? Take a look at the screencaps and full video after the jump and let us know if your opinion on LeBron James has been changed.