The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

June 26, 2011

Why the entourage did LeBron James in

McNay's Musings

RICHMOND — Darren Rovell did an excellent story on cnbc.com saying that “LeBron James marketing may never recover.” As he noted, LeBron is now one of the most hated stars in any professional sports. He went from admiration to derision on the heels of one of the stupidest public relations stunts ever conceived.

It ranks up there with “New Coke” as a bad idea.

Rovell had a point that makes LeBron’s decisions obvious. He is surrounded by an entourage of high school friends, or what many call, “the posse.”

Many who come up from poverty attract the posse of hangers-on and yes-men. The gang hangs on until the money runs out and then latches on to another marker.

A real friend would tell a guy like LeBron that he is really messing up. The posse never will. They don’t want to get kicked off the gravy train.

I’ve never understood what kind of person would be a professional hanger-on, but there seems to be an unending string of applicants.

Even before the bad economy.

LeBron doesn’t need a posse. He needed someone to advise him and occasionally tell him no.

The “posse syndrome” is not limited to the rich and famous. It happens to anyone who gets a large sum of money.

I’ve spent my adult life working with injury victims and lottery winners who come into sudden money. They frequently develop a sudden posse.

As an advisor, the posse is a difficult army to fight. Especially if one of the posse members hints of romance.

I tell my sudden millionaires that they just became the hottest item in their city. Some people understand and ward off the money grubbers. Others are like West Virginia Powerball winner Jack Whitaker. He was robbed of $600,000 in cash that he brought to a strip club.

LeBron James is an adult and capable of adult decisions.

I wish the posse was not one of them.

Don McNay is an author, columnist and founder of McNay Settlement Group Inc. in Richmond, Ky. You can write to him at don@don mcnay.com or read his award-winning syndicated column at www.donmcnay.com.

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