In a new Nike commercial, LeBron James almost apologizes to Cleveland.
"Almost" is the key word.
It starts out on the set of "The Decision," with a vulnerable James seeking forgiveness.
"What should I do?" James asks, before turning his attention to the city of Cleveland.
Should I tell you how much fun we had?" he says, as they take down his "We Are All Witnesses" sign.
But before long, James turns irreverent and aggressive. He takes shots at Hall-of-Famers Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, the latter of whom harshly criticized James.
He bashes his other critics, mockingly asking if he should accept his role as a villain.
It ends with one last middle finger to Cleveland and his critics: "Should I be who you want me to be?" as he glides toward the rim for a layup.
This last question is the ultimate theme of this commerical. And it's brilliant.
It plays on the age-old belief that any action, no matter how graceless, selfish or disrespectful, can be defended by saying, "I'm being who I want to be, not who you want me to be."
Look, LeBron James had a right to leave. He was a free agent. But the way he did it — dragging it out all summer, with a one-hour nationally-televised special to embarass Cleveland, with no remorse and with just one line: "I'm taking my talents to South Beach" — could have been handled better.
If he would just admit that and apologize — as he almost did at the beginning of this commercial — we could all move on.
But the commercial skips the apology and misses the point. James (and Nike) don't feel he did anything wrong. They feel the criticism is unwarranted. So while the commerical is a slam dunk technically — it's funny, exciting, aggresive and irreverent — it's still fails to score any points, at least with this fan.
What did you think of the commerical?