I just came back from a weekend in Houston, Texas where I got to see the Final Four of NCAA College Basketball. The two games were entertaining to watch, each with a star player who stole the hearts of many adoring fans.
Many of these talented athletes have promises of a future in the NBA and the whole scenario had me wondering about what goes in to the publicity of an athlete? There were many questions I had. My first question was how young is too young to begin “press training” for these young “stars.” When I was watching the college players during interviews, some seemed to love the camera, making jokes and flashing a big smile, while others shied away from the spotlight and looked uncomfortable. You have to wonder if some of these qualities go into draft selections.
Take Kobe Bryant, for example. If you are a Lakers fan you worship him, if not it is usually the opposite. His personality and demeanor shine on the court and love him or hate him, he is a great basketball player. On top of being a great player on the court, he is also seen as a celebrity. Is there a great PR team behind Kobe paving the way for his media success? Does this make him more valuable to the Lakers and any other team that may want to trade for him? I’m sure there are so many aspects of publicity that go into such a prominent player’s career, but what goes on behind closed doors?
What do you all think? Does a professional athlete’s personality on and off the court play into their worth in the NBA, or is it strictly athletic performance?