Since winning his first championship on Thursday night, LeBron James has already undergone quite the image rehabilitation, going from (in the popular opinion, at least) a great player with lacking performances in key moments to someone who can dominate in crunch time when necessary. LeBron, for his part, has taken to the role well, saying all the right things in public and generally acting like an affable, friendly guy.
For proof, check out the photo above. While at a Miami hotel for an interview, James — who's engaged, as well — happened upon the wedding of Shaun and Jamie Kolnick. He ended up giving them a moment they'll likely display in their home for years. Janie Campbell of The Huffington Post has the story:
The NBA champion of all of two days happened to be meeting a Sports Illustratedreporter at the Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove just before Kolnick tied the knot on the property, and the Miami native and new husband Shaun were able to snag the pre-wedding snap of a lifetime -- never mind that eager onlookers uploaded cell phone photos of the bride to Facebook before she'd even walked down the aisle.
"I was like, 'Who cares? It's a photo with LeBron!' It was really unexpected and exciting," said Kolnick. "Shaun was like, 'That's enough! We don't need to get married anymore.'"
Buzz had begun building hours before the ceremony that James was at the Ritz, said wedding planner Jen Schwartz of Anje Soirees, but no one was sure they'd actually spot the city's new hero.
"It was funny, because the bride's brother was just dying, he was beside himself with excitement," Schwartz said, laughing. "And at some point, she looked at him and said, 'Okay, you're more excited that LeBron James is here than you are for my wedding!'"
As the best man in my brother's October wedding and a big (and cynical) Warriors fan, I can say with some certainty that I would not be more excited to see Klay Thompson before the ceremony than I'd be for the wedding itself. I guess some people just don't have their priorities straight.
In all honesty, what LeBron did here was pretty minor — my guess is it took him less than a minute to take the photo, shake some hands, and move on with his day. Nevertheless, it was a nice gesture and the sort of thing that will only make him look better. Who knows, maybe he'll even start randomly kissing babies and handing out free sandwich coupons for Quizno's. That's what politicians do these days, right?
For the Kolnicks' sake, I hope LeBron doesn't see his image take another hit in the future. Otherwise they'll just have a photo of themselves with a big fat jerk. I'm no expert, but I think that's the kind of thing that forces couples into therapy.
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