The Serious Faux Pas: Athletes

In today’s segment of our Serious Faux Pas series, we’re looking at the modern misstep of athletes who take themselves too seriously and how the age of the hyped up self-aggrandizing sports icon has ended.
 

Growing up, Xers (and older Millennials) had a transcendent sports icon to look up to: the great and powerful Michael Jordan. Jordan gave rise to the idea of the icon athlete as an endorser, and even recently was called “the endorsement king of all ages” by Forbes. Almost all of his endorsements celebrated his prowess as an athlete. At the height of his stardom, kids across America were inundated with the call to “be like Mike” thanks to his Gatorade commercials. He was someone to aspire to become, but always maintained a safe distance from his fans and teammates—an untouchable hero. ESPN has called him “the archetype of the hero athlete and the living embodiment of success.” Jordan took himself seriously, was not humble, and didn’t mind coming off as arrogant and self-aggrandizing. In his Hall of Fame induction speech, he infamously ran through a list of all the individuals who had not believed in him or held him back in some way by name to emphasize how much he had succeeded despite them. 

But a serious shift has occurred since the age of Jordan and the athlete hero-on-a-pedestal. Millennials aren’t looking for hero athletes, but athletes who can joke, banter, and create irreverent material— even at their own expense. Sports stars today who commit the Serious Faux Pas risk having their fan bases turn on them. That lesson was exemplified in the aftermath of the publicity circus surrounding LeBron James' decision to join the Miami Heat. After he and his marketing team created a television special to announce "The Decision," fans vilified him, and it has taken years to rebuild his…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I hope to be a good person that can change the world for the better. I want to be an artist and an author and a musician in my free time, and be a veterinarian as my profession.” —Female, 15, WA

Xers and Boomers may look down upon the growing subset of Millennials moving back in with mom and dad, but instead of feeling bad for themselves, these kids are making it work. A closer look at their post-grad lives is being explored in Boomerang Kids—a photojournalist series inspired by one Millennial’s experience of moving back home after draining resources as a photography assistant. The juxtaposition of reaching towards adulthood while still living in their childhood rooms paints a fuller picture of how many are living day-to-day. (Fast Company

Wendy’s may be tainting the comeback of one of their most popular items—the pretzel bun—in a #PretzelLoveSongs commercial being called out for “lazy parodying.” Those who feel nostalgic for the ‘90s hit song “To Be With You” are cringing over the Wendy’s commercial remake, and voicing their extreme distaste on Twitter. Be careful playing with Millennials’ nostalgia, because not taking it seriously could land a brand in hot water. (Uproxx)

How can we make kids exercise more? Since dragging them away from their screens is more difficult than ever, Wokamon is a new app from China that is making kids bring their devices outside and take a walk in order to feed their virtual pets. The cute aliens feed on energy, and the app’s pedometer technology measures steps, distance, and calories that add up to advance pets to new levels and unlock characters. Though targeted to kids, teens and adults can benefit from the app’s fun approach to fitness and sync it with other wearable trackers. (Springwise)

One mom’s open letter to Lands’ End asking why there have been cool science shirts designed for boys but not for girls has quickly gained momentum online with other parents this month, and pushed the brand to launch an entirely new line of science-themed tees for girls who love NASA, sharks, and the like. The brand has been accused of gender stereotyping in the past, and is addressing the posts on its Facebook page directly by rolling out new science-themed styles for girls this fall. (Huffington Post)

Digital versus unplugged is the wedding debate of late, and the line between too tech-centric and being completely disconnected is one that brides and grooms are finding difficult to straddle. Social media is increasingly being used to create wedding albums via couple-specific hashtags, but some couples are so turned off by the near constant focus on camera phones during a wedding that they are enforcing device-free ceremonies. (NYT)

Quote of the Day: "A benefit of unplugging is getting a more personal view of the world back. (Social media tends to distort your perception to bend to what others are thinking/feeling/saying/doing.)” —Female, 25, MN

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