Friday, June 08, 2007

We Are All Witnesses

It has been one week since LeBron James made me jump off my couch and stand at attention during the last 20 minutes of Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Finals. One week since King James announced his arrival at the gates of NBA greatness. One week since I developed a new found respect for the creative minds behind the marketing at Nike. One week. One word. “Witness.”

The campaign began in the fall of 2005 with a 212-ft wide banner on the side of a building near Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers, that featured LeBron mid-flight and the headline, “We are all witnesses.” The idea being that the city of Cleveland was knowingly witnessing the emergence of the next great one.

Nike knew what they were talking about, and not just because they helped brand the last great one, but because James took the Cavs to the second round of the playoffs last season and as of last week, had carried them to the Eastern Conference finals as a 22-year old. In the process, sales of Nike t-shirts with nothing but a swoosh and the word, “Witness”, sold out in C-Town and were going for up to $100 on eBay. But to paraphrase the Bachman Turner Overdrive - you, me, the city of Cleveland, Pistons fans, the rest of the NBA, and even the good people of EspĂ­rito Santo, Brazil (hometown of Cavalier forward Anderson Varejao) ain’t seen nothing yet.

That’s because LJ dropped 48 points on Detroit in that historic Game 5, scoring 25 straight to close out a double overtime victory.

Bart Scott, a native of the Motor City and an avid Pistons fan, was a witness. “LeBron was exactly what we thought he was,” Scott told RaveTV’s Matt Brevet. “A superstar. We haven’t seen that since the likes of Michael Jordan.”

Daniel Wilcox was a witness. “He’s proved it every single year.” Wilcox said. “He’s one of the best players in this league. When it’s his time to takeover, that’s when he takes over.”

Corey Ivy was a witness. “LeBron started to come into his prime in the last series against the Pistons.” Ivy told’s Mike Duffy. “He’s a grown man out there and just bullies the rest of players around. LeBron is a man amongst boys, and this is his time to rise up his game to another level.”

So what would happen when James and Co. took on the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA finals? Well despite the praise for the young King, one Raven’s prediction would prove to be the most poignant. “Larry Hughes can’t guard Tony Parker,” declared Terrell Suggs when asked about the series. Suggs added that he would take the Spurs in 7 and after watching the future Mr. Eva Longoria flash by Hughes, James, Boobie, and anyone else Mike Brown put in front of him, I’d say Suggs might be giving the Eastern Conference Champs too much credit. And it wasn’t just Parker exposing the Cavs, ABC made it clear that Cleveland was over matched thanks to their tie-in to the movie, Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer. ABC singled out the “Fantastic Four” to watch during the game and three of those profiled were Spurs. Not even Mr. Fantastic (James) would stand a chance against The Human Torch (Ginobli), The Thing (Tim Duncan) and The Invisible Girl (Longoria?).

The Spurs won game one 85-76, but in the best-of-seven style of the NBA, the sports world is guaranteed at least three more nights of wondering just how good James can be and whether he will continue his ascension to the NBA throne. We will all be watching, waiting, and wondering because all we want is to make sure we are all witnesses.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nicce!