BOSTON – If you laughed at during any part of LeBron James’ new “Rise” Nike commercial, you may have missed the point.
Though several of the scenes in the 90-second spot that hit the internet Monday and aired for the first time Tuesday seemed intended to invoke humor, James said the message was dead serious.
“None of (the scenes) were jokes, I wasn’t in a joking mood,” James said Tuesday. “Looking back on it, I’m saying, 'Should I be who you want me to be or should I be me?'”
James' normal jovial mood has been muted so far this season both on the floor and in his discussions with the media. That also comes through in the commercial, where he seems to challenge his detractors, including a direct shot at Charles Barkley.
“It was just how I was feeling at the time, it is still how I feel at some points in my life,” James said. “I just wanted to get it out … It was me just hearing a lot of people saying some of the things I’ve done—have I ruined what I’ve done over the years.”
Back in the TD Garden for the first time since his season ended there last May, James was in a reflective mood. He said when he left that day he didn’t think he’d be returning as a member of the Heat.
“At that time I didn’t think it would be the last time I would wear a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform,” James said. “It was disappointing. I never thought in the back of my mind that I would be somewhere else. But I’m excited about this new start. I’m excited about this franchise.”