How Andrew Bynum Hurt His Personal Brand During Game-6

Personal Branding

The Lakers huddled together, listening to their coach in hopes of making a 20+ point comeback.  Kobe was sick with the stomach flu and needed the support of his teammates to help him close out the Nuggets.

And there Bynum was, 8 feet away from the huddle, staring blankly into space while his teammates drew up plays without him.  Andrew Bynum showed the NBA in that instant the he’s not ready to lead a team.

A leader must inspire hope through all odds

The Clippers were down 27 points against the Memphis Grizzlies and made a historic comeback to win game 1 of the playoff series.  After the game, Chris Paul said that he didn’t let the coach pull him out of the game.  He told the coach to give him and the team a chance – there’s always hope for a win.

The Clippers came back and won the game because Chris never lost hope and inspired his team.

Similarly, our valiant CEO and leader Yu-kai Chou inspires us everyday.  When there is news about a competitor getting funding or if we don’t get a client deal, Yu-kai never stresses or falters; instead, he looks us all in the eye and tells us why this is actually good news.  “A competitor got funded? Well that’s great because it shows we’re in a hot market and other investors will want to jump in.

Andrew Bynum did not inspire; he kept to himself and showed his teammates that they shouldn’t depend on him.

A leader must stay humble and do what’s best for the team

Before close-out game 5 of the series, Andrew Bynum told the press the following:

“Close out games are actually kind of easy,” Andrew Bynum told reporters this week. “Teams tend to fold if you come out and play hard in the beginning.”

This added fuel to the fire and motivated the Nuggets to win game 5.

As a leader, it’s important to pick your spots and always understand that your competitors are watching every move that you do.  A leader must put aside his personal emotions, feelings, and wants, and always remember to do what’s best for the team.  In this case, the best thing that Andrew could have done was to stay quite and let his game speak for itself.

Instead, he made a brash quote that helped the Nuggets build momentum, carrying them to game 7.

Our company has chosen our PR presence wisely, staying hidden for the past 6 months to test our product and build our case studies.  When we saw our opportunity, we jumped at the chance and took it.  Our competitor received VC funding so we wrote a blog post about how we’re different from our competition.  Because of the post, we set up 3 investor pitches.

A leader demands – he doesn’t wait to receive

It’s true that Andrew Bynum has had many complaints about not getting enough touches or opportunities to score during the game – especially towards crunch time.  But that’s the thing: the way he communicates to teammates (verbally and physically) is through complaints.

A leader doesn’t complain; a leader pulls his teammate aside and tells him directly to pass him the ball in the low post on the next play.  A leader talks to his coach privately, not publicly, to ultimately get the result he wants.

A leader can’t wait outside of the huddle hoping for change, he needs to be in the huddle, listening when appropriate and telling others what needs to get done.

Andrew Bynum’s personal brand in the NBA

Andrew Bynum has the potential to take over the Lakers once Kobe retires.  But if his lack of mental focus and leadership continues, then I doubt that he’ll be able to lead the Lakers once Kobe is gone.  A team needs more than just a dominant force in the paint; a team needs an anchor, a shoulder to lean on when the going get tough.

Kobe was sick – he needed to lean on Bynum to close out the game and take them to Oklahoma City.  Unfortunately, Bynum just doesn’t have it in him yet.

At our company, Yu-kai Chou is the anchor, the shoulder that we can all lean on when the going gets tough.  If there is a client complaint, then Yu-kai steps up and talks to the client personally.  If there is a disagreement in the company, then Yu-kai makes sure that everything is resolved before we move forward and accomplish our tasks.

That is what a great CEO does, and what Bynum needs to learn how to do.


Jun Loayza is the Co-Founder of RewardMe, a digital rewards program for restaurants and retailers. In his entrepreneurial experience, Jun has sold 2 internet companies and lead social media technology campaigns for Sephora, Whole Foods Market, Levi’s, LG, and Activision. Jun currently lives in Mountain View, CA with his girlfriend and startup team.  On the side, Jun helps his girlfriend maintain an online store for day dresses and women’s apparel.