Down with King James, Down with Personal Brands

There is justice in the world. Today the Dallas Mavericks are the NBA Champions. The victory ends an angst filled year in which the basketball world watched to see if Miami and its trio of personal brands — LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh — could buy a championship. In the end, a team of less talented, but veteran hard workers beat them.

The Miami Heat is one of the most vilified teams in history. They became the team that everyone wanted to lose.

Deservedly so. With an unprecedented brashness celebrating their stardom, they represented everything that is unappealing in the American celebrity culture. The trio — and in particular, Lebron James — were icons that embraced a fame and web culture revolving around the development of personal brands to achieve notoriety and fame on social networks like Twitter.

It began with LeBron James unbelievably narcissistic ESPN show “The Decision” to announce, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.” The list from there was extensive; from Lebron’s announcement to the Miami Heat Welcome Party (above video) all the way to game 5 of the championship series and Lebron James and Dwayne Wade mocking Dirk Nowitzki‘s playing through 101 degree fever. The deplorable behavior ranged from personal branding (and @kingjames’ many gaffes on Twitter), celebrity needs in an attention economy, the devaluation of team behavior, and a whiny lack of mental toughness.

That’s why it is so fitting that the Mavericks won. Success is not something you just buy. Great things take hard work. Noteworthy accomplishments require a toughness, an ability to get up and fight every day in the face of adversity. It takes spirit and team play, and a willingness a willingness to work through challenges and make sacrifices. Dallas epitomizes all that is right about the human commitment to achieve noteworthy goals.

So today, maybe just for today, the personal branders lose. And the King has no throne. How sweet it is.

P.S. Full disclosure: Caitlin Livingston is from Kent, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.

The Top Twenty Silly Tweets

The proliferation of “personal brands” (a.k.a. internet famous) and celebrities offers a bounty of bizarre tweets and online statements. Here’s a compilation of my favorite gaffes!

1) Don’t they know who I am?

2) I have too many friends. Will you join my fan page?

3) “You need to nurture your rising star.”

4) it makes me sad, the more I have success the more people don’t like me….

5) I love how some dudes hate me for dating their fantasy girl, as if they were going to if I hadn’t.

6) I don’t get it either. Who pushes out more interesting links AND interacts more than me on Twitter?

7) That’s bad for my personal brand…

8) Enough about me, what do you think about me?

9) I find it hard to take Twitter advice from someone with < 500 followers. 10) I seem to get two kinds of Twitter followers: People who want me, and people who want to be me. 11) Google me! 12) I really don't understand why I am not insanely famous. 13) New rule: If your email starts off with "I want to pick your brain," my reply starts off with "at $400 per hour." 14) I charge $22,000 a day. 15) I deserve all the respect and support I can get. 16) I'm going to take my talent to South Beach. 17) These companies beg me to come, I'm not going anymore to these drinking "PR" fests. 18) Why is that people always try to understand estimate my intelligents?! 19) Hey @Twitter, just so you understand the basis of our relationship. It's all about me. 20) Passion is your personal branding fuel.