Game 5 of the NBA finals takes place tonight.
Let’s forget for a minute that Kawhi Leonard has the strength of Paul Bunyan and Andre Iguodala misplaced his jump shot since hitting that dagger in the Warrior’s Game 2 win. There are lessons to be had from the communications and branding perspectives.
And I’m not talking about Draymond Green figuring out that non-stop barking at the refs is bad communications. Instead, I’ve raked the archives for the following:
Warriors PR Director Raymond Ridder and his team do an outstanding job of minimizing the drama that shadows most NBA teams, particularly those under the spotlight like the Warriors.
Still, I felt the need to lend a helping hand a couple years ago in creating a strategic plan for the team to communicate their views on the divisiveness emanating from the White House. The path showed the way without having to stop there to chat with Trump and chow down on Whoppers and fries.
I even offered to donate my time for the cause.
Most NBA watchers believe Kevin Durant will seek out the proverbial greener pasture — hello NY Knicks! — when free agency kicks into gear next month.
Still, it’s worth revisiting how Durant communicated the news that he was joining the Warriors the summer of 2016. Eschewing the conventional news release and press conference, Durant communicated his decision through The Players’ Tribune. Started by Derek Jeter after he was done manning shortstop for the Yankees, The Players’ Tribune offers a platform for professional athletes to take their stories and perspectives directly to the target audience without that pesky filter known as sports journalists.
One might make an argument that The Players’ Tribune straddles owned media and third-party media since Kevin Durant does not technically own the platform. Yet, when you take into account that Durant controlled every vowel and consonant that went into his story before it was flung to the outside world, that’s the true definition of owned media.
More from Durant, this time on a not-so-magic salvo.
Look at his “Thank You to Everyone” ad that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle after his first championship fell flat. The creative could have come from a summer advertising workshop for high school students testing their copywriting chops.
LeBron doesn’t travel to China each year because he can’t find a good xiao long bao restaurant in the U.S. He’s building the LeBron Inc. brand and securing cover stories like this one in the lifestyle magazine, BQ, with the headline (loosely translated), “Like Me or Hate Me, You Have to Admire Me.”
So it is with the Warriors who made the trek to China a couple years ago to play two preseason games.
I had to laugh when Thompson’s agent bragged about how Klay is getting out and about to experience the Chinese culture — like hanging out at the hotel bar. I believe I’m on safe ground in saying that a hotel bar at a Four Seasons doesn’t quite capture the essence of the Chinese culture.
I plan to step off my communications soapbox and watch tonight’s game as a fan.
But I can’t help thinking that all of the misfortune foisted on the Warriors the past few weeks has shaped the perfect story arc.
Will redemption surface in the end?