The Beasley Postulate, Extended

I was so serious when I said it: This is now a politics blog. Why else would we have covered a veep acceptance speech? Therefore, it with great importance that I command you to watch this video Chris Bosh made for FanHouse, of him and the gang eating fast food:

A few weeks back, I posted some image-defying, at-home footage of porn stars, and wondered what such a thing might do for NBA players, and if it ran too counter to the interests of branding and such. Well, here it is. First of all, this is stunningly mundane. And yet, you're still struck by the sheer presence of the scene—LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams, sitting at one table like it's nothing, millions of dollars and thousands of win-shares kicking it in front of, as Bosh note brilliantly, a wall of Penzoil. They come off not only as less serious and polished than we're used to seeing them—why wouldn't they, since this is their world, not the media's—but they also come off well. This is the most loose and amusing we've ever seen LeBron; weirdly, it was the acting of the "The LeBrons" that had previously seemed like the most authentic Bron we'd seen. I guess the common thread is humor and goofiness, which are largely absent from the King James we're sold.

But I'll be darned if this doesn't make me like James a lot more, and realize that underneath all the stone-faced professionalism, this is an outgoing young man having the time of his life. We can pretend that sports are war, or the measure of a man, or something whose true significance fans, and not players, are responsible for generating. However, who exactly relies on this construction for their interest? Does the demographic whose name is synonymous with the mention of "demographic" in sports want a stiff upper lip, as opposed to this window out onto levity and entertainment? I guess that (as it would be for the Nautica Thorn example) it's a slippery slope into all the old stereotypes of the modern athlete, and an evocation of Johnny Unitas's flat-top and the brow of Dave Cowens. I keep wondering, though, if 25-34 year-old males don't at some point catch up to the athletes of this era, or maybe even find themselves relating to exactly this capacity for frivolity.

Of course, this stuff lives on the internet for now, when we actually do get to see it. And I don't mean on-set bloopers, unless it's that batch of Iverson that got pulled off of YouTube after a few days of existence and never returned. Still, this shit is real, and people respond to it. It may muddy, or make slightly more complex, our picture of an athlete—or a candidate. But in the end, having us feel there's a real person underneath the professional feats, one that informs and infuses them with our common humanity, is worth the sacrifice. Instead of trivializing our fandom—or political allegiance—it engages us, turns us into more than circuits responding to cues and unrewarding, rote narratives. If we don't expect it, and the powers that be don't think we want it, the cycle can be broken and life will be more interesting for all of us. Unless I'm grossly wrong and a lot of people do need their athletes, politicans, and porn stars to be a series of accomplishments surrounded by formulae or talking points, nothing more and nothing less.

But seeing as this tincture of personality is what makes for Obama's appeal, and it's what made McCain's name in 2000, you'd think this charisma would have some recognizable value. It's only a matter of time before sneaker companies realize this, and hopefully, this election will hammer home that point even further.

P.S. Tum Tum=official Redeem Team soundtrack

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At 8/28/2008 2:52 PM, Blogger Anthony Wilson said...


I knew LeBron was a funny dude, but CP3?

"i ain't never in my life had a burger next to some Slim Jims in a gas station."

At 8/28/2008 4:44 PM, Blogger Brian said...

so that's where simmons has been.

At 8/28/2008 5:34 PM, Blogger Jason Gill said...

You've gotta love this video as it portrays the literal sense of a phrase all to common in the political discourse of our day; this shit actually does 'speak truth to power,' in the context of Power being corporate and monetary. I think with pro sports our image of power as money often conflicts with the truth of the pure honest expression inherent in sports. This video, in that sense, reinforces one facet of the conundrum against the other,

Interestingly, as I write this, I am considering Kobe as an exception, where athletic dominance is only another iteration of Power.

And I am interested as to whether Obama and basketball offers us a similar window through a facade.

At 8/28/2008 5:43 PM, Blogger nathanrwhite said...

I don't know what it means, but I think it means something significant that my first thought on watching the clip was, "do these guys have an endorsement with Wendy's?"

At 8/28/2008 6:35 PM, Blogger Penny said...

Xanadu is FD

At 8/29/2008 12:08 PM, Blogger Nate Jones said...

Nathan: That's what is so cool about it. Dwight Howard actually just got a McDonalds deal and shot a commercial this week...so you know this was not some viral commercial.

Shoals: This is an amazing post. More sports marketers, PR directors and agents should read this so that they can understand that people want to see the real deal. I would say, the normal/natural LeBron is much more marketable than corporate LeBron.

At 8/29/2008 1:15 PM, Blogger Drew said...

Speaking of CP3, I just got this in my "Bee Mail" from the Hornets:

"At the airport I had the honor of saying hello to the Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, and running back, Deuce McAllister. By the way, as you may know, Laura and I were at the Olympics. There is no finer citizen of the United States and of this part of the world than Chris Paul of the Hornets."
- President George Bush

Maybe now if Gustav makes its way to the Louisiana coast, CP3 can be our connect to Washington.

At 8/29/2008 1:43 PM, Blogger J Rock said...

Sarah Palin was a baller.

At 8/29/2008 1:56 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

@J Rock: we know.


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