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LeBron James Commercial: McDonald's Ad Is Latest Step As Heat Star Rehabilitates Image (VIDEO)

First Posted: 09/22/11 03:01 AM ET Updated: 10/19/11 09:32 AM ET

Since his Miami Heat team lost in the NBA finals back in June, it seems just about everybody has made a joke at LeBron James' expense. From his failures in the fourth quarter to his hairline, nothing has been out of bounds for James' critics.

Among the highlights of more than a year of LeBron bashing are Jason Terry, of the world champion Dallas Mavericks, mocking James and the Heat while on the set of the music video for Young Jeezy's "Win." There was also the minor league baseball team that held "LeBron James NBA Championship Replica Giveaway Night" shortly after Terry's Mavs lifted the Larry O'Brien Trophy. The joke was that the fans didn't receive anything because James had no championships. James, along with teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, also were ripped by Seth Myers during the ESPYS in front of all of their peers.

Much of this animosity extends back to arguably the biggest sports PR blunder since John Rocker agreed to chat about the No. 7 train with Jeff Pearlman. That blunder was, of course, "The Decision" on ESPN, where James indicated that he would be taking his sizeable talents to South Beach. Among those prodigious talents was not a feel for public perception. The negative reaction from his very public decision to leave the Cavaliers only worsened after an introductory event in Miami that was handled as if it were a title celebration -- actually it was more of a dynasty celebration.

Even James' initial attempts to address the backlash came off as antagonist, notably his 'RISE' commercial for Nike, which also may have borrowed a bit from John Lennon's "Look At Me."

James' relationship with the public may have reached its nadir immediately following the conclusion of the Finals when he unleashed a brief rant against those who want him to fail. With vitriol in his tone and a sneer on his face, James widened the divide between himself and the ticket-buying and sneaker-buying public.

"All the people that were rooting for me to fail, at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that (they had) before they woke up today," James said at the postgame press conference. "They got the same personal problems they had today. And I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do."

Perhaps after some personal reflection, or at the behest of a PR advisor, James seems to have recently changed his tune. In late August, James took what appears to be the first of several steps toward adopting a more self-deprecating persona. Not too long after Dwight Howard made a crack about James' receding hairline during an appearance BET 106 And Park, James tweeted his own joke on the subject.

Had a dream my hairline was back! Woke up and went to bathroom, turned on light slowly. Same ol story. Damn! Lol #wishfulthinking
Aug 24 via UberSocial for BlackBerryFavoriteRetweetReply

Showing a sense of humor about a subject that is sensitive for many men shows that either LeBron is loosening up or he is really committed to convincing the world that he is not the egomaniac that his critics say he is. Over the summer, James has also played in several under-the-rader summer league games and donated a clubhouse to the Boys & Girls club in his native Akron.

In a new McDonald's commercial that will begin airing in late September according to AdAge, James takes on a subject potentially more painful for him than male pattern baldness. James appears to be poking fun at his notable lack of NBA hardware. In the commercial, an announcer states "Odds of Lebron James winning seven championships: one in..." To which James responds "Come on, man." The announcer then says that the odds of winning a prize in McDonald's Monopoly promotion are 1 in 4. The clear implication being that the odds of James delivering on the prediction he made of winning eight championships when he first signed with the Miami Heat are not nearly as good.

As Jim Andrews, senior VP at IEG, a sponsorship, research and consulting firm told AdAge, "It's a good reflection on both McDonald's and his parts to do the ad this way. He's gotten a lot of negative publicity, and this is another good way for him to say, 'maybe I have made some missteps.'"

Just as Michael Jordan conceded he wasn't an all-world baseball player in a scene in the cinematic classic known as Space Jam, perhaps James, arguably the most physically talented athlete in the world, will endear himself to sports fans by admitting that he too isn't perfect.

It's doubtful that this scripted five-second moment of vulnerability will win him back many fans in Cleveland, though.


Here is a look back at some of the other advertisements that have featured James through the years:

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  • Nike - LeBron James Pressure

    A really funny commercial of Lebron james first NBA game done by Nike were Lebron freezes mid game after receiving the ball, where everyone comments about how he can't handle the pressure..

  • Lebron James' Nike commercial

    Lebron James aka basketball's messiah. The commercial features Bernie Mac & it was for James' first signature shoe

  • James LeBron commercial

    new espn officer :D looking for his chair...

  • LeBron James hits full court shots (Powerade Commercial) Shows You How to Dunk Like The Pros. Check it out Now. Its fake, but still looks good.

  • LeBron James "Chalk" Commercial for Nike Zoom LeBron VI - This Thanksgiving holiday Nike will debut its latest television commercial, Chalk, which features basketball star LeBron James. The 30 and 60-second US television spots draw its inspiration from LeBrons pre-game ritual of tossing talcum powder into the air at the scorers table before each home and away game. The pre-game ritual of LeBron has become a symbol of the ultimate Just Do It moment. The ad campaign, produced in cooperation with Portland, Ore.-based advertising agency Wieden Kennedy is part of Nikes integrated marketing and communication support for LeBrons latest signature sneaker the Zoom LeBron VI. The ad will begin airing on Thanksgiving Day during the nationally televised pro football games. It will run on major networks and cable channels including ESPN, ABC, Fox, CBS, BET and MTV. The campaign will also be featured on In addition to LeBron James, the commercial also features cameo appearances by basketball players Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, JJ Hicks and platinum recording hip-hop artist Lil Wayne.

  • Lebron James NBA commercial sporting Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones "Where Amazing Happens"

    Lebron James and the NBA have this fantastic commercial. We're glad that they Lebron rocks Beats By Dr. Dre Headphones when he listens to his music, as you can see.

  • Lebron James Nike Commercial - Swimming Pool

    LeBron James Nike Commercial - Swimming Pool. Advertisement aired at the beginning of the 06-07 NBA season. The song is "Summer Madness" by Kool & The Gang.

  • Yao Ming LeBron James Coke Commercial

    Yao Ming LeBron James Coke Commercial

  • Kobe vs Lebron puppet commercial(Mrs.Lewis)

    Puppet Kobe and Lebron playing 1 on 1


    90:Commercial Spot

  • ESPN - LeBron James' Football Commercial

    LeBron is coming to the NFL

  • Nike MVPuppets "Puppet Chalk" (in HD)

    Nike presents to you the MVPs (Most Valuable Puppets). The roommate puppet versions of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant get competitive in this campaign for the NBA Playoffs.

  • State Farm

    Find exclusive content, contests and more at After crashing into a mailbox, LeBron James' buddy tries to blame it on LeBron. But everything's ok because they are covered by State Farm

  • Handshake- Kobe Lebron Puppet Commercial

    An old friend stops by the barbershop and Lebron must give him the handshake.

  • FULL VERSION: McDonald's Commercial with LeBron James and Dwight Howard

    Broadcast before the kickoff of Super Bowl XLIV, NBA stars Dwight Howard and LeBron James star in a remake of iconic 1993 Super Bowl commercial The Showdown, which featured hall-of-famers Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in trick-shot competition for a Big Mac and fries. The new commercial titled "Check This" pits James against Howard in their own unique take on the battle for a Big Mac. The TV ad also features the reappearance of Larry Bird. Joe Pytka, commercial director for McDonalds original 1993 Super Bowl spot, also filmed the remake. Check This was filmed in Indianapolis at Conseco Fieldhouse in early January, 2010.



    This isn't about what LeBron James has done, or hasn't done. This is about the difference between the expectations others may have of him versus the expectations he has of himself. What should he do? The answer is a question.


Filed by Dan Treadway  |