MY TRUE THOUGHTS ON LEBRON JAMES:
I love a good story.
In the Summer of 2004, one of my favorite stories was the Curse of the Bambino, and the New York Yankees utter historical domination of the sport and rivalry with the Boston Red Sox. I know fans of small market teams hate the “Evil Empire,” but I submit sports and sports fans need the Yanks because the Yankees make a good story great. The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t just win the World Series in 2001. They beat the Yankees. Boston is far from a small market team, but the yarn they spun in 2004 is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, sports stories of all-time precisely because the Yankees were a part of it.
While most people celebrated the Red Sox victory, or at least recognized its incredible narrative, I mourned. Because the story was over. Boston won. The Curse was dead. Winning your first championship in 85 years is phenomenal, but do you know what’s better than that? Winning your first championship in 185 years. Now THAT’S a story. The Red Sox could have lost for another 100 years, and I would’ve appreciated every second of it (well, I’d be dead, but still).
The best story in basketball, bar none, is LeBron James. His reads like Greek mythology. A titan, gifted with the preternatural ability to do anything and everything on the basketball court, is cast out of the heavens, sent to Earth as a man to display the might of the gods. But LeBron has one fatal flaw: in his tremendous, other-worldly success, he never learned to deal with adversity, cannot perform under pressure, and wilts when the lights shine the brightest.
I’m not saying that’s word-for-word what’s happening with LeBron James in the NBA, but that is a pretty damn great story, no?
LeBron James is truly mighty. His speed and power, elegance and feel for the game, are unmatched. He is ferocious, yet incredibly deft. He is finesse and raw power. He is regal.
He is Achilles.
No one knows why LeBron James, the person who can play basketball the best, is not the undisputed best basketball player ever, and multiple world champion. I just don’t want the story to ever stop. Ever never.
I get a lot of flack for being a “LeBron James Hater,” but the truth is, I love watching him play, in part, because I love this story. Every year, we get the story of a winner, in every sport. It’s all sort of rote. The trophies are literally handed out at the end of each and every season. But the story of the tragic loser is rare, meaningful, poignant, and full of humanity and heart.
During the Miami Heat’s Game 4 loss to the New York Knicks, LeBron James was slowly, but methodically chopping away at the foundation of his own epic storyline. The Knicks’ Mike Bibby buried a 3-pointer to put his team up 84-81, forcing Miami to take a timeout. Undaunted, James hit his own clutch 3-pointer with 75 seconds left in the game, only to watch Carmelo Anthony answer right back with another three. When Anthony went to the line, up three, shooting three more free throws, it looked like the Knicks were a lock to extend the series.
But Carmelo only made one. The lead was four, not an insurmountable lead with 25 seconds left, but certainly a gap difficult to bridge for a normal player. Something felt different. LeBron felt ready. He was carrying himself differently. It was, strangely, no surprise to me when LeBron drove on the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, took the foul, and made a wild, left-handed layup in the process. The free throw would follow, and all of a sudden, Miami was within one.
Seven seconds later, with 13 seconds remaining, and down two points, Miami had the opportunity to tie or win the game, as well as their first round series, on their way back to the Finals. The hot hand clearly belonged to LeBron, who was in the process of rewriting his “clutch” storyline.
The dominoes were set perfectly. What better game to let LeBron excise these demons? He was in a safe environment, supported by his team’s dominant 3-0 lead, virtually guaranteed of moving on in the Playoffs. If James misses, and loses, Miami likely claims victory in a forthcoming game, and LeBron learns the crucial lesson that mistakes, in basketball games, aren’t too costly, and certainly not the end of the world, or his future.
However, if LeBron put his teammates on his shoulders, and wins the game, his confidence would soar, and the Heat would likely be unstoppable. The corner wouldn’t just be turned, it would be razed by the King himself. The fourth quarter jokes would go away. No more haranguing tweets. No more commentators dissecting his psyche. Just the gleam of the Larry O’Brien trophy reflected in his bright eyes. A true win-win.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra called the play for Dwyane Wade. LeBron stood in the assigned corner he’s oft been relegated to late in games, and watched. Wade missed. The Knicks won. Opportunity lost.
And frankly, I couldn’t have be more happy about it.
I don’t wish LeBron James failure. I just want this great story to have no end.
Although I can’t say that I fully agree with his argument I do think this piece was very well thought out and well written.
(via nonathanhua)Source: gotemcoach
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