Newly Minted Tycoons

#10

LeBron James

10/10
James, Cleveland 2009

James, Cleveland 2009

At some level, he has obnoxious DNA: he’s a ridiculously talented person in his profession. And now that he has a platform for fame, he’s created what I call “tunnels”: marketingwise, he’s crossing over, putting himself in as many places as possible and creating a personal narrative. The suspense he’s keeping with the 2010 contract is good—everyone is asking if he’ll stay in Cleveland—and he’s playing the media to keep himself relevant, with things like a guest appearance on Entourage. If he played his cards right, he could be, by far, the biggest star in the world. But LeBron drops the ball—sports metaphor!—because he is not doing what Lance Armstrong does or what others athletes do by getting into the trenches, getting his hands dirty with social media (like Twitter), and proving that he’s authentic. I think that is a major mistake because it makes him nonreal, and the world we’re moving to, especially among tycoons, is one that’s based on authenticity. He’s clearly had a great upbringing with his mom and his coach, so as long as he’s a good dude (which it seems like he is), then he should get on Twitter, or start videocasting, and show all his fans who he is. He’s missing that right now, and if he just moved into the social-media space, I think he would become even more electric. Clearly, he has already set the foundation for a life after his basketball career; now it’s just about taking advantage of that brand equity to make him an even bigger tycoon.

Vaynerchuk is a personal-branding expert. Follow him on Twitter.

10/10

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