The King Has No Clothes, Lebron’s Lessons For Work

Image: Bob RosnerThe Lebron-a-thon reminded me of an old Vietnam era joke. One soldier turns to another and asks, “What’s the difference between the Marines and the Boy Scouts?” The second soldier shakes his head saying he doesn’t know. The first smiles and says, “The Boy Scouts have adult leadership.”

The Lebron-a-polooza proved one thing, a group of twenty-somethings can win the battle and lose the war.

If during his special on ESPN Lebron had announced that he was sticking with his hometown Cleveland, he would have turned from a local hero to a national hero. Sure, Miami, Chicago, NY, LA and Brooklyn/NJ would have been disappointed, but the rest of the country would have rallied around him.

I’m not saying that he had to stay in Cleveland. I am saying that as soon as Lebron realized that leaving Cleveland was a possibility, the ESPN Lebron-cast should have been dropped.

As a nation we can only handle so many bad breakups. I’m still smarting over America’s sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, getting jilted. Then Tipper Gore. Now Cleveland? That’s just too much for a nation to bear.

So what is the business lesson here? The importance of adult leadership.

Young people can have talent, money and endless opportunities. But there is a point where wisdom can leverage all of that more than the buddies that you went to school with. I’ve seen Entourage. For every time that your posse points you in the correct direction, there are many more times where you make a glaring mistake.

Heck, I’m 53 years old, and these days I tend to reach out to wiser souls when I have a big decision to make. And I can’t tell you how much it has helped me.

Lebron, do the show and stay. Or leave town quietly.

I didn’t even watch the show and I had to take a shower after I found out what happened. It just felt dirty.

The only thing that made Lebron look good was the very public rant of the owner of the Cavaliers. Dumb. But unfortunately Lebron’s fingerprints are here too. Because after seven years it he should have contacted the owner to let him know before he went on national TV.

Twitter and ESPN work for the masses. But for your partner for seven years, you owe it to come from you directly. Privately.

Sure the Madonna rule could apply to Lebron. You know, there is no such thing as bad publicity. But personally I feel that his brand went from the penthouse to the outhouse, because of his own decision making.

Lebron, try adult leadership. I think you’ll like it.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.