Will Tiger Take the Kobe or MJ Road to Redemption?

I'm not sure if Tiger Woods even cares about the NBA. I know he's been known to roll with Jordan and Barkley. But if he wants to make it through this sudden rough patch, he'd do well to look at a couple of examples from basketball's not-so-distant past. The advertising cult of personality surrounding him seems straight from the basketball superstar playbook. Thus, any attempt to salvage his public image necessarily relates to what happens with disgraced NBA players.

The poster child for image rehab is Kobe Bryant, who went from top pitchman, to celebrity indicted on sexual assault, to the more subtle, less ostentatious corporate presence we see today. Bryant's earning power certainly took a hit, but he's reconstituted himself as someone more concerned with basketball than celebrity—exactly what his career arc needed, and in fact, great for the public perception of him. Yet at the same time, plenty of people reviled Kobe Bryant before the Colorado case. His squeaky-clean image always rang hollow; anyone could tell the man has issues. Now, he earns grudging respect, since his rep is based largely on his performance on the court.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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