Role models are important. They help establish positive values, teach children to set attainable goals, and provide direction when it comes to overcoming adversity. Most of all, role models provide a real-life example when an explanation simply won’t do. Particularly these days, as the traditional family has become less and less common, it can be hard to find someone respectable to look up to.
Enter LeBron James. It came out recently that The King plans to begin production of an “online entertainment venture.” The aptly titled “The LeBrons” will feature four characters representing different aspects of James’ persona, to be named “Kid,” “Wise,” “Business” and “Athlete.” You might recognize the premise from a Nike campaign a few years back.
The show has already picked up HP and Intel sponsors, and aims to be a modern take on “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” in that each episode will touch on a specific moral or social issue. In fact, LeBron himself will be doing an in-person (non-cartoon) introduction for each episode, presumably to be as direct as possible with his tutelage.
The concept that role models play an important role in the growth and development of children is not a new idea. Neither is the idea that television, at least from time to time, has the potential to teach real life lessons. But seriously, LeBron James? One can’t help but wonder what Cleveland residents think of James’ decision to share his moral character with our nation’s youth. Even outside of Cleveland, the man is currently one of the most disliked athletes in all of sports, largely, if not entirely, because of his absurdly over-publicized “decision” to pursue his own self-interest.
How did that turn out for his hometown? Not well.
I’m not saying I don’t enjoy watching LeBron play, and I’m not saying he didn’t have the right to leave Cleveland. I’m just saying that after having left the way he did, he shouldn’t be trying to push moral lessons. After all, some people place real value in selflessness, modesty, and loyalty. Unless he’s going to be teaching moral objectivism, it’s hard to believe his attempt to teach morality through a cartoon will be at all believable or well-received. That being said, it just might be amusing.