The Well-Dressed Basketball Player

On March 28, 2008, in Humor, NBA, Race, Women, by Black Fives Foundation

It doesn’t work. The new Vogue Magazine cover featuring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen is all wrong. The Black Fives Blog looks at this, using our slogan (and our tendency) to make history now. Let’s start with the basics (from an old Rawlings catalog): Next, let’s add LeBron: Staying with the theme and the era: […]

It doesn’t work. The new Vogue Magazine cover featuring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen is all wrong.

The Black Fives Blog looks at this, using our slogan (and our tendency) to make history now.

Let’s start with the basics (from an old Rawlings catalog):

The Well-Dressed Basketball Player

Next, let’s add LeBron:

The Well-Dressed Basketball Player, LeBron

Staying with the theme and the era:

The Well-Dressed Basketball Player With Model

There. That’s more like it!

In case you’re interested, seriously, here’s my opinion about the LeBron-Gisele Vogue cover.

I think it was a missed opportunity by LeBron. I wanted to see something more … personal, titillating, fascinating, provocative, heartfelt, connected. In examining the photo, it looks and feels as though Gisele is airbrushed into it, just like the model in my 1922-1923 image above. LeBron doesn’t seem to have any connection to Gisele. He’s not relating to her. His energy isn’t aware of her existence.

VogueDo I need a Tic Tac?

I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out that the two didn’t even pose together. The photo is totally digitally altered. Just look at the incongruous energies. Vogue-gate.

In that sense, instead of getting the feeling that he’s playing with her, and that they’re playful with each other — which is what, I think, most readers of Vogue would have wanted to see — I get the feeling that he’s playing with, or by-, himself.

Look at the cover photo again. I mean, he’s not even holding her waist the way you’d wanna be holding that waist. You hold a waist like that, it’s gonna result in a turnover. What kind of a way is that to hold a supermodel’s waist??

See what I mean?

Gisele's waistVogue-gate?

It doesn’t bother me at all that LeBron is wearing his basketball gear instead of a suit or a tux. It doesn’t matter to me that he appears to be shouting. (I say appears, because maybe he’s not, and just wants Gisele to smell his breath, as in, “Do I need a Tic Tac?”)

I’m looking more at the energy. The energy tells me he’s not really with Gisele. He’s not in the moment. He doesn’t relate.

Is the mere fact that he’s not connecting with her Vogue’s way of being intentionally safe?

Did it backfire regardless?

Vogue was supposed to be showing us 2 superstars at the top of their games. But they failed to do that. It’s not appealing on any level. It doesn’t mean anything. It gives off the wrong vibe. Annie Liebovitz was trying to hard.

Anyway, LeBron is young, and maybe he isn’t thinking like that yet. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s disappointed with the results.

Historic pose? No doubt. But LeBron wasn’t making history now … then.

Neither was Vogue.

13 Responses to The Well-Dressed Basketball Player

  1. ronglov72 says:

    Hey Claude – I wrote the column for TSF and as I was cutting and pasting it to the text, I looked at how he was holding her waist (as you had it magnified) and I said, “Damn, what man holds any woman’s waist like that?” I never considered the airbrushing theory for a second while I wrote this but now I’m thinking it may carry some weight. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. mcbias says:

    Good point–none of the pictures in the magazine of L and G have any chemistry at all. But I still really like the picture where Gisele is holding a basketball–I think there was a missed opportunity there to make Gisele pose with a basketball and have Lebron pose with some sort of fashion item (perhaps quizzically looking at a pair of heels, for example).

  3. Claude says:

    Hey guys, take a look at LeBron’s left foot. It’s blurry, in motion. Somethin’ don’t add up! :-)

  4. Are we surprised it’s really not a good picture? Annie Liebowitz took the picture and all of her work is bland, boring, and somehow she’s famous.

  5. Brock Samson says:

    This cover made me feel uncomfortable. It’s too close to some of the posters for the original “King Kong” in the 30′s.

  6. Miranda says:

    Good stuff – this is a perspective I hadn’t thought of, in terms of the actual aesthetics of the photo. Although I did initially think it just “didn’t look right”..I assumed it was because my next thought was “look at this Birth of a Nation bullshit….i’ll be damned”.

  7. Claude says:

    Miranda, it didn’t feel right to me either, even before seeing this vintage poster. If images have a way of embedding themselves into the subconscious, then do you believe that there’s such a thing as a collective subconscious that makes people “remember” these sorts of images even though they haven’t seen them yet? Know what I mean?

  8. Imhotep says:

    Claude, The insight about the disconnected energy between the two is very timely, I had not noticed that. I did recognize the lack of grasp with the fingers around the waist.

    All of this is fine, but he and or his handlers should not have allowed these photos to grace the cover of the magazine.

  9. Claude says:

    Imhotep, I agree. And I agree that I might be skirting the issue. Do you think he had a say or even tried to have a say?

  10. Imhotep says:

    “Do you think he had a say or even tried to have a say?”

    Claude, I’ll make the assumption that Vouge approached LeBron about a cover shot, perhaps with the idea of being the first Black male to grace the cover. If that’s the case, then he certainly had veto power as to what went on that cover. It’s my belief that LeBron had more of a say than he was aware. That lack of awareness of his power position contributed to him acquiescing to Vogue’s wishes.

    While I believe the photos to be deplorable. In LeBron’s defense, he is a young guy coming of age serveral generations after some of the more heated civil rights struggles, and he is not sensative to the various forms of racism, subtle and otherwise.

  11. Claude says:

    Yes, he’s young. By now I’m sure his personal tutor has told him to write:

    “I WILL NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN”
    “I WILL NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN”
    “I WILL NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN”
    “I WILL NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN”
    “I WILL NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN”
    “I WILL NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN”

    … at least 100 times on the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room chalkboard.

  12. Elle says:

    Sorry to disappoint ya’ll, but the shoot really was with both of them:

    http://video.style.com/?fr_chl=178160196be34831d1d3e7c2ab3b18ccf63be32e

  13. BallersCove says:

    I thought it was a cool picture

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