Skip to content

Modern Day Princes

February 9, 2011


An interesting point that was brought up in my class was to think on modern day Princes.  From this I was able to determine that in my opinion that are about four main traits that make up a Machiavellian prince.  The first trait is to be feared yet loved.  As seen from the “Prince” one needs to be able to control their people yet at the same time must not be hated by their people, to avoid mutiny.  The second trait is that the “Prince” must have the support of the general populous.  With the support of the general populous the Prince will be able to once again control his people.  The third trait is that the Prince should be in the pursuit of power.  He should do what is necessary to gain, get control of and main control.  The last and final trait, in my opinion, is that the Prince must have some sort of intelligence.  For him to possess and maintain the traits previously described, the Prince must be somewhat intelligent to do what is necessary to be considered a Machiavellian Prince.

From this description of a Prince, I think a perfectly good example of a modern day Machiavellian Prince is Lebron James.  I think that Lebron is a perfect example because he exemplifies all of the main traits that pertain to making an individual a Machiavellian Prince.  First, Lebron is feared among the NBA league by his opponents and their fans.  Their fear does not come in the sense that they are afraid that he will hurt them, but in the sense that his talent is so great that if you are on the opposing team one must fear his skill.  The next trait that Lebron posses is that he is indeed not only respected among the league for his skills but is also loved by his fan base.  One could make the argument that since he has moved to Miami that his fan base has diminished, but from the Heat fans I’ve talked to, they love and revere him.  In the sense that Lebron is in the pursuit to gain power, his move to Miami instead of Cleveland is a perfect example.  Lebron left a team that had a chance to be the best or at least compete to a team that is now considered to be the best and most talented team in the league.  Lastly, Lebron is somewhat intelligent, though many sour Cleveland fans would disagree, Lebron is a man that has taken his talent and made millions of dollars off of it and is now on a team to possibly become a world champion.

I thought that this was an interesting discussion to dissect and I think it would be interesting to see what others thought or what other modern Day Machiavellian Princes people could come up with.


  1. kasnetz permalink
    February 9, 2011 9:57 PM

    I really enjoyed the article. I’m a fan of sports (and political theory) and it’s a great spin on “King” James. And I am a lover of Machiavellian political theory. Here is a link to an article I read a long time ago, one that I think really relates to your point.

  2. February 10, 2011 3:01 AM

    I definitely like the comparison of Lebron to Machiavelli but I believe there are a few flaws in your argument. First off, if you are saying he is a Prince of the NBA and not just Miami, then he is certainly not loved by most of the fans. He has made himself one of the most hated players in the game. Also, one could argue the other way, on how he actually lost a tremendous amount of power by leaving the Cavs. He was on his way towards winning a championship with them, but more importantly he was the only one in charge. He lost a lot of his power by moving to Miami because now he shares the court with Wade and Bosh. He is not in control like he used to be.

    • rlwulf permalink
      February 14, 2011 12:47 PM

      The first thing I’ll say to this post is that it’s certainly not his fans that don’t love him. Otherwise that would defeat the purpose of having a fan. Though I agree that the fact that he is disliked demonstrates that he may not be the ideal Machiavellian subject at this point. This does not, however, mean that he did not use some of the concepts brought up in The Prince to initially secure prestige once entering the NBA. For one, there can be no question that he didn’t fight for it, as he had to have had a significant amount of skill and determination to fight his way into the NBA to begin with. More than this, he had to find a way to build his name so that it could be respected by acting in his outside life in a way that would gain positive feedback. For instance, looking at Ben Roethlisberger, he had at one time been one of the most beloved athletes in the NFL, but as soon as he was accused of beating a woman, his credibility was automatically shot.
      Lebron James is certainly not the ideal Machiavellian, but he still clearly had fused some of the concepts brought up by Machiavelli to ensure his initial success.

  3. February 10, 2011 5:57 PM

    I really enjoyed your post, as I am a basketball fan. I agree with the previous comment, in the area of how Lebron is now one of the most hated players. Which would cause him to deviate a little from Machiavelli’s rules, but stills allows him to agree with the other three. There maybe a better argument in saying that he is the new prince of the Miami Heat, but you could make the same argument for D-Wade. Since the “decision” to go to Miami I think he lost his prince status. I understand where you are coming from and truly apprecaite it, but I just believe that there is a strong counter argument to it as well. Great post!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: