LeBron Heads to South Beach

Slate's Culture Blog
July 9 2010 12:37 PM

LeBron Heads to South Beach

"This fall," LeBron James


on last night's ESPN broadcast

The Decision

, "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat." James' talents do not include geography. The Heat play at the American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami. South Beach sits some six miles east of the Heat's home base, on the other side of Biscayne Bay.

It's no crime that James, a lifelong Akron, Ohio resident, is fuzzy on the Miami street plan. But the South Beach slip is revealing. For months, pundits had been calculating

that would swing LeBron's choice. Was he after a max contract? Multiple championship rings? Did he want to "expand his global brand"? Would he be swayed by loyalty to Cleveland? Few asked the question: Where would a 25-year-old black multimillionaire most want to live?

Whatever else James' decision reveals, it is a signal moment for cultural demographers. The LeBron James of an earlier era might have been drawn to New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. (Franchises in all three cities were in the bidding for his services.) But over the past decade, Miami—or rather, South Beach—has become the leading mecca of the black celebrity class. Its oceanfront condo towers are a magnet for African-American athletes, musicians, and entertainment industry professionals; its nightclubs and hotels are celebrated endlessly in hip-hop songs and videos. In short, South Beach is a party-hearty resort strip that occupies a place similar to Harlem in the 1920s—it is black America's most glamorous neighborhood. Where else would LeBron James want to take his talents, to lay his head?



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
Sept. 17 2014 12:13 PM “For a While Liquidity Led to Stupidity”
The Eye
Sept. 17 2014 12:19 PM Early Cancer Hospitals Were Modeled on French Castles, Served Champagne
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Sept. 17 2014 11:06 AM Inside the Exclusive World of Members-Only Clubs
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 11:14 AM How Does That Geometry Problem Make You Feel? Computer tutors that can read students’ emotions.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.