According to Yahoo! Sports, LeBron James’ televison special “The Decision” was the biggest story in sports for 2010. It’s hard to disagree. It launched arguments, spoofs, a championship contender, and an era of free agent collusion that may not be over.
While it raised LeBron’s profile to new heights, it certainly could have gone better. So I’m calling for another athlete to try it again. It has to be an imminent free agent, a player at the height of his powers, a player who will command the nation’s TV ratings.
That’s right, “The Decision: Michael Vick.”
Michael Vick needs “The Decision.” It was big news recently when he got his first endorsement in Philadelphia. It was a “local athlete for local car dealer” promotion, which is great, but it’s probably not the type of multi-million dollar deal he had prior to prison. He needs to raise his profile and say to marketers, “Look at me, I’m on TV, people are watching!” “The Decision” will do that.
There are still many who continue to say that he hasn’t changed or he should do more for animals, and “The Decision” would be a perfect opportunity for Vick to continue making progress on that front. The show’s format has plenty of room for fluff pieces highlighting the work he has done with schoolchildren on making better choices. Vick could donate the ad revenue as LeBron did, but his donation could go to the Humane Society.
Finally, Vick needs to film this show because of the joy. LeBron would be revered if he had stayed in Cleveland, even after his silly show. That “Witness” banner would still be hanging and Cavaliers fans would be defending their egotistical star. And that brings me to my list of necessary changes to “The Decision” if it’s going to work for Michael Vick.
1. Pick Philadelphia. The whole point of this is image rehabilitation so this only works if Vick’s staying an Eagle.
2. Secretly negotiate the contract before the show. If the contract is negotiated ahead of time, there are some charitable options available. Perhaps certain creditors would be willing to make donations to the Humane Society. Perhaps he will be able to make a small donation on-air.
3. All about team. LeBron’s decision was criticized as outrageously narcissitic–a whole show about one person who refers to themselves in the third person. Vick could certain improve on this by bringing his whole team into the show. Other teammates’ charitable work could be highlighted, and Vick could talk about the way his teammates have helped him in this new stage of his life.
4. All in good fun. The show cannot get too full of itself, or too full of Michael Vick, or it will be a turn off. If there’s a lightness, that will be great. If there’s a joke about the LeBron version, even better.
5. Short. Just like a blog post can get too long, so can a television show.