LeBron James Diminishes Brand Power

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The NBA’s hottest free agent is no longer free: LeBron James announced his decision last night to join the Miami Heat after the New York Knicks signed Amar’e Stoudemire.

Miami is hardly the launchpad New York could have been for James, according to Interbrand’s analysis, as it does not “enable brand stretch or provide an outlet for LeBron to continue building his brand to the extent that other markets provide.” James, however, isn’t looking to be the next Michael Jordan (Magic Johnson, maybe) and doesn’t want to carry a team (and city’s) hopes on his shoulders alone. MSG head James Dolan commented before Johnson’s decision, “It takes courage to play where the lights shine the brightest.”

Besides the Cleveland Cavaliers, the other brand loser last night? ESPN, writes the New York Times‘ Richard Sandomir, who calls its live special a “debacle.” Watch AP’s take after the jump.[more]

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