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Why are TV products important for your legacy?

NBA stars looking for new strategies to make their mark

Why are TV products important for your legacy? NBA stars looking for new strategies to make their mark

While LeBron James came out of the NBA Finals head down 4-0 against the San Antonio Spurs, Daft Punk created "Alive", one of the most successful albums. Among the tracks there is "Television, rules the nation" and there is no need to add why it is a historical song. In the historical moment when TV was changing its social role, the disruptive electronic charge of the French duo arrives to remind the world that there is a new tool to "command" everything.

Over the decades, TV products have diversified more and more, reaching a multitude of formats that have by now lost count. If within the new TV products we also include those baked by innovative streaming services (Netflix, Prime Video et similia), you definitely enter a world of disproportionate dimensions. The ways will have changed, the audience will have changed, the modes of use will have changed, but TV products in a broad sense are at the center of the dynamics of many cognitive, social and above all sporting processes.

The reasons why Michael Jordan wanted to embark on the fantastic television adventure that falls under the name "The Last Dance" are basically two: marketing and legacy. The second point is decidedly more complex than the first, if only for the very nature of a term that has been abused in the last period. Defining the concept of "legacy" is not so simple and at times it becomes less difficult to explain what marketing is, despite the complexities it hides. Calling it a mere "legacy" does not sufficiently enhance its epic aspect. Legacy represents the imprint that a player has left during his career, it is being iconic in a transversal way, it is the stylistic and sporty influence that is handed down to future generations. A mix of these ingredients helps an athlete to become immortal.

How do you become immortal in modern sport?

To become a legend, to enter the Olimpio of the best players, a respectable prize list would be enough, made of rings, titles, MVPs, memorable games. The conditional is a must, because in an era in which digitalization makes everything immediately usable, it is easy to disappear from the radar. There are many cases of highly decorated samples that almost never fall into the top 10 all-time or that do not claim their place in the elite. For reference, ask Robert Horry (7 NBA rings with 3 different teams), one who has decided on many decisive matches, but today many would probably not be among the best 50 players ever.

How then do you become immortal? Part of the answer comes from the latest trend: telling your feats and a winning story through a TV product. The legitimacy that comes directly from the TV and from the audience linked to that type of product is increasingly seen as a fundamental step for the creation of one's public image.

After the release of "The Last Dance", news regarding the production - or at least the existence of the material in view of a production - of at least 3 documentaries arrived soon, with Dwyane WadeKobe Bryant at the center and in the last few hours Magic Johnson also joined. The Pandora's box that opened Michael Jordan with the "last dance" of his Chicago Bulls has sparked a new form of legacy, a new instinct for immortality, a new tendency to be at the center of a story that can testify how much the game has changed thanks to the protagonist's exploits.

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/ "The Last Dance" ha aperto la strada a una nuova forma di racconto, come previsto da molti. Nelle ultime ore John Ireland, @baxter e soprattutto John Black - capo delle pubbliche relazioni dei @lakers da 27 anni - hanno svelato che una troupe cinematografica ha seguito @kobebryant ovunque durante i suoi ultimi due anni in gialloviola. Il protagonista del prossimo documentario @espn potrebbe essere proprio il Black Mamba. - "The Last Dance" has created a new form of storytelling, as expected by many. In the past few hours John Ireland, @baxter and in particular John Black - head of public relations for the @lakers for 27 years - have revealed that a film crew has followed @kobebryant everywhere in the past two years in yellow and purple. The character of the next @espn documentary could be Black Mamba. #nsssports

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What does it mean to be sportily immortal?

The idea of the story through a TV product has convinced even the most skeptical, emotionally and psychologically captured by the Bulls' tales of the 1998 title or by productions such as the wonderful documentary on Maradona written and directed by Asaf Kapadia. Although Jordan has said that "after the series, many will think I'm a horrible person", the 5-time NBA champion knows that his image will come out stronger and his legacy will become increasingly untouchable. An attempt that will also make Magic, Wade and who knows how many other sportsmen.

The main goal of these documentaries, however, is slightly different from solidifying a sporting legacy. In order for an image to become eternal, it must be able to withstand eras other than that in which it is lived. The memory in some ways belongs to the past and the past, especially in a modernity made of events that follow one another at the speed of light, is not made to last forever. That's why the production of these products helps important legacies to go through different decades, different historical moments and tries to communicate with completely different generations. Surviving the advent of everything that doesn't belong to your era is the key to becoming immortal and the best help can come from TV products.

Ego issues and self-celebrations?

The aftertaste of this whole series of speeches has the flavor of pure self-centeredness and extreme self-celebration. It may seem like a bad thing and to a superficial eye it may really seem so. But if you think about it, self-centeredness and defense of your sport / public image are completely natural. A competitive nature, a nature that is made up of ghosts from the past that obscure the image of emerging pretenders to the throne, in one of the clashes that goes beyond mere bar talk like "Who is better between Jordan, Kobe and LeBron?".

Being among the best is equivalent to placing the bar on a higher level, on a level that probably only those who are in that famous Olympus can understand. Even if petrol is often thrown where it is not needed, the issues behind the scenes, behind the creation of a docuserie rather than a film, are only to be hypothesized. The striking example is version 2.0 of Space Jam  The film will be titled, coincidentally, "Space Jam: The New Legacy" and not "Space Jam 2" as many speculated before the announcement of LeBron James. Conspiracy theories have already been built around that word "legacy" that would like LeBron as Jordan's antagonist and, once again, as a demonstration of the fact that James's legacy is heavier, more important and significant than that of "His Airiness".

Comparing fiction and reality, imaginary characters and storytelling linked to real sporting ventures gives a dystopian vision of the facts. We don't know how much Jordan's push is behind the making of "The Last Dance", nor do we know how much LeBron James is involved in the production and choices related to the screenplay of the film due out in 2021. We know that Kobe wanted a troupe followed him, but that doesn't mean we can label the three characters as "self-centered and narcissistic" (or rather, we can't do it for the topic in question). The only sure thing is that the tool for legitimizing through TV products is now an open road that will lead to new frontiers, new horizons and new strategies to make one's image immortal.