When LeBron started that whole “throw rosin powder in the air and jump into it” thing, it was pretty obvious that he (in conjunction with LRMR Marketing) had made the conscious decision to imitate Michael Jordan while also upping the drama of the moment, no doubt in the continuing effort to reach his “ultimate goal” of becoming a “global icon.”
My initial reaction was: Whatever. I mean, that’s simply the world we live in, right? I can’t even fill my car with gas anymore without being bombarded by commercials from a television screen embedded in the pump. Advertising has infiltrated every part of our culture. (For further proof, check out HumanAdSpace.com, “home of the first international forehead advertising campaign.”)
My feelings now? I’m annoyed, if only mildly.
After the Bulls’ halftime tribute to Johnny “Red” Kerr — during which Jordan upheld his tradition of dusting Kerr with rosin powder, and Johnny continued his habit of dusting himself off with a handkerchief — MJ was asked about how it all began. “I don’t know how it started. I think he had a nice suit on and I wanted to mess him up a little. It became a pregame ritual.” But it was the next part of the quote that got me thinking: “Now LeBron [James] has taken it to another level. You see LeBron do it, I think of Johnny way back when.”
I don’t know. Maybe I’m still a little wrapped up in all the hoopla surrounding Johnny’s tribute ceremony, but it just strikes me as kind of sad that a private ritual between two friends that accidentally became public knowledge has been somewhat cheapened by an ostensibly private rite that was intentionally designed and executed to become a public spectacle.
Not that I feel sorry for MJ. After all, he helped create this monster. It was Jordan, you’ll remember, who during his rookie season showed up for for the All-Star Weekend decked out in Nike paraphernalia, thus ignoring the unwritten rule that players were to wear only All-Star gear to the All-Star Game. (Depending on whom you ask and what you believe, this led to the infamous “Freeze Out” of Jordan during the game.)
No, Jordan doesn’t deserve any sympathy, and I certainly doubt it’s bothering Johnny. He has bigger problems to deal with. It’s more the continuing loss of innocence in a world in which nothing is sacred, not even personal relationships or foreheads. Plus, wasn’t it much cooler, and a lot more fun, when these things occurred naturally out of spontaneity and personal creativity?
Maybe it’s just me.
Funtastic extra: (From the OC Register via Awful Annoucing) I’m not the only person who’s bugged by LeBron’s powder routine. Kevin Ding of the Register recently said: “As stylish as James’ ‘chalk’ Nike commercial is both in vision and sound, it sends a terrible message. You have no idea just how horrible that ‘chalk’ is. The powdery stuff gets everywhere — especially in sports writers’ drinks when sitting courtside and even worse … in laptop keyboards. It’s a nightmare. So boo on James (and Kevin Garnett) for throwing that crap into the air. And kudos to Bryant, who gets his and bends at the waist to lower his hands toward the floor, discreetly dispersing it with slow claps that keep it out of harm’s way.”
That sounds pretty rough and all, Kevin, but I bet your mewling complaint makes Aron Ralston want to throw up in his mouth a little bit…right before beating you to death with his one remaining arm.