Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron, MJ and NFL Locker Rooms


It has become my Shawshank Redemption of commercials. No matter how many times I see it, I stop and watch when it comes on. LeBron James’ newest Nike commercial is a true testament to just how far he has come as a person. The Nike commercial and the even more personal Samsung commercial bring us into LeBron’s world in a way we haven’t seen before.  These commercials are personal. The Nike commercial that follows LeBron riding his bike from his home to the AAA isn’t made up. LeBron has long been riding his bike to work. These commercials show us how far James has come since joining the Heat in 2010. He is now comfortable in his own skin, and he wants us all to join him on his journey.

LeBron has long taken criticism for helping other players instead of forging heated rivalries. I think these commercials show that his nature is to include, not exclude. He is what Charles Barkley never wanted and never could be, a role model.

On the other hand…

I’ve always contended that Michael Jordan’s play made him a basketball god. But it was Nike’s marketing that made him into a god. The marketing of Michael Jordan should be a required class for anyone wanting a Marketing degree in college. Michael was around before the explosion of social media, so it’s hard to compare off the court to James, they were under far different microscopes. However, we do know that in many ways Michael was polar opposite to James. Where LeBron wants you to join him on the journey, Jordan made sure you were watching from the outside. From all reports, Jordan was a task master to his team, a man with a single minded focus only rivaled by Tiger Woods.

Jordan connected with fans in the most well marketed way possible. No one really questioned his frailties or faults. It was Michael, he was the best, he could do no wrong. There are still questions about his gambling habits, and speculation to why he actually left basketball to play baseball. Maybe David Stern will let us know when he writes his memoirs.

Michael Jordan has the reputation of the most mentally tough athlete of all time, and it was well known that he ran the Bulls locker room with an iron fist. Much like an NFL locker room. Speaking of NFL locker rooms, let’s talk about the Miami Dolphins.

Oct 31, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai (96) and defensive tackle Jared Odrick (98) celebrate defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime 22-20 at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The big news in sports this week is the fiasco that is the Miami Dolphins locker room. As a south Floridian and sports fan, I wanted to touch on the subject, if briefly.

  1. Leave Jonathan Martin alone. He did what he needed to do. He had his agent talk to Jeff Ireland, when that amounted to nil, he left. None of us know the real truth, but he didn’t do anything wrong.
  2. Stop with the phony tough guy internet responses. Sitting in the cheap seats and calling Martin a coward for not fighting Incognito is stupid. It was Martin’s decision how to deal with that, and no man should be forced to fight. In the immortal words of Patrick Swayze (Dalton), “nobody ever wins a fight.”
  3. It is time to change the football (at all levels) culture. It starts with the NFL, but it should continue in college and high school and pop warner. It is time that we stop glorifying the Urban Meyer’s of the world that put winning above everything.
  4. The Dolphins need to go through a Penn State-like purging of coaches and front office personnel.

On that last note, I am calling on Steven Ross to begin the purge now, not later. We have the three major sports and hockey down here in south Florida, and with each a different ownership. We have Mickey Arison, the heir apparent for greatest owner since Dr. Buss passed away. We have Jeffrey Loria, who signed a pact with Selig (or is it Satan, can’t keep those two straight) to ruin baseball in south Florida. But we also have Ross. I really believe Steven Ross wants to be Mickey Arison. He wants to give south Florida a winner, a team to be proud of, but he is failing. You see Steven Ross is becoming James Dolan (Knicks owner). He has good intentions, but despite the screaming from everywhere to stop, has hitched his hopes to the worst possible person. Jeff Ireland is to Steven Ross as Isiah Thomas was to James Dolan. It’s time to jettison him, and save yourself, your team and your fan base.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming, Heat vs. Clips from AAA 7 p.m. eastern on TNT.