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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh – All Affected By “The Decision”

Many agents take on a greater role than strictly negotiating the contracts for their athlete clients.  This is especially the case for the more notable athletes who generate a large portion of their income through activities off of the court/field of play.  Agents who wear a marketing hat for representation purposes must not only be concerned about the actions that their own clients take, but also the actions taken by others, which may have incidental effects on the agents’ own clients brands.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are certainly three basketball players that come to mind when thinking about stars who are able to earn money through marketing based opportunities.  LeBron James’ one-hour ESPN show titled, “The Decision”, officially announced LBJ’s departure from Cleveland to play with Wade and Bosh in Miami.  The show affected not only LeBron’s image, but also what people think about Bosh and Wade – and they had no part in the entire ordeal.

A new nationwide survey from E-Poll Market Research shows that in the wake of “The Decision,” public sentiment towards LeBron James and fellow free agent Chris Bosh is down markedly, while attitudes towards Dwyane Wade are more favorable.

E-Poll’s E-Score® survey measured awareness, appeal and perceptions of the Miami Heat trio along numerous personality attributes. In addition to a plunge in appeal rating from 47 to 29 points, James’ ratings for such attributes as “Confident,” “Exciting,” “Good Energy,” and “Talented” were all down significantly, while negative attributes such as “Cold,” “Insincere” and “Over-Exposed” showed big increases.

In contrast to James, Wade’s appeal score rose from 51 to 55 points, and he saw increases in his attribute scores for “Confident,” “Exciting” and “Talented.” Chris Bosh experienced declines in appeal as well as most of his attribute scores. The survey was conducted July 17 – 29, 2010.

Besides the fact that Bosh and Wade might not have been in control over the change in sentiment, it is also important to point out that LeBron’s own advisors (CAA and LRMR) might not have had much control either.  We now know that Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor, had a large roll in James deciding to go forward with “The Decision.”  That said, James’ right hand man, Maverick Carter, knew about it, and at a minimum gave his consent moving forward with the idea.

LeBron’s brand is not destroyed, but it seems as though it has taken a slight beating.  Meanwhile, D-Wade somehow benefited from LeBron’s poor decision.  Who is to blame for the consequences for a decision on “The Decision”, which was apparently influenced by a variety of individuals?

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

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