Thoughts from the mind of P Wizdom…

Lebron James: Talent vs. Desire, Skill vs. Will

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
– Muhammad Ali

So with my first official post(not counting the the explaination for why I am blogging or the Quotes Page), I decided I might as well start off with a bang!!!  With the NFL Football lockout looming over us like a dark cloud…..leaves the NBA Finals fresh on the mind of sports fanatics.  Unfortunately, when you speak of the NBA Finals, the most discussed thing isnt the champions, but Lebron James.  Either someone is justifying his actions or accusing him for costing the Heat the ‘Ship.   So I decided I might has well throw my 2 cents in as to what I gained about Lebron from the finals…..

Let’s put it out there first and foremost about Lebron James…the guy is an incredible talent.  I am also pleased, and even shocked at how he handled himself the early part of his career.  It can not be easy for a kid out of high school to not only be a star and leader of a NBA franchise, but also for the entire city to place the change in the misfortunes upon his shoulders.  He was a scorer, a leader, and most shockinly to many, a facilitator(which will be mentioned later).  He had a team that prepared him well for interviews and was careful about what was being said…this is evident in the stat sheet/notes that often accompany him to the podium after games.  His numbers were astounding, he was loved by everyone, he was “The King”.  He wasnt facing the critique of players such as Kobe Bryant(SHOUTS TO MY LAKERS)!  People wanted to see him succeed and he was giving him just that.  After the first few years, people were handing him the titie of the next Jordan, the greatest ever even…. SO what happened???

“THE DECISION” happened!  I look at this two ways.  firstly, an athlete has the choice as a free agent to go where he chooses.  That is his right.  Secondly, this was a marketing/PR nightmare(LBJ has admitted such), but the way it was handled is what caused the problem.  Lebron knew where he was going and dragged it through the mud started a year before he was even a free agent.  Lets call it what it is…he enjoyed the attention!!  Lebron knew that he wanted to go and play with DWade and CBosh.  He wanted to have something special and figured they would be unstoppable.  The Decision and the ridiculous introduction party foreshadowed something that we should all now know about LBJ……he is a lot more like Pippen(doesnt even deserve discussing his ironic comments) than Jordan

In sports……the game is often more mental than physical.  It takes a special person to want the win or loss resting on their shoulders.   Not every player, no matter how good the shooter, can take that last shot and be successful.  It takes HEART!!  The 2011 Finals showed me that Lebron lacked heart.  When looking on that court, not many on either team had the talents that LBJ has, but others, especially the Mavs showed they wanted it more, they showed HEART!  Most games the last two series, the Mavs were down…often by double digits.  They wanted it and believed nothing could stop them.  James did not feel the same.  His attempts were down, his free throws were down, his points were down from his season and playoff averages.  Yet his minutes were up!!

Maybe you did not feel as I did, but in watching that game and seeing who wanted it and who was trying to get it, Wade is the player that showed the heart.  That heart is necessary to be the best.  Wade to me is more of the Jordan of the Miami Heat, LBJ is more of a Pippen(with a lil Magic Johnson for the passing).  How different would the finals have been if Jordan was in Lebron’s shoes.  Which never would have happened b/c Jordan would not have chased a ‘ship like that.  Jordan stayed with a team that was terrible in ’84 and created a champion…. MJ is stated as one of the most competitive people who touched the hardwoods of the NBA.  He is a champion, a winner, and this was showcased even more so in stressful moments.  Everybody, fan or not knew that the fourth was when MJ got serious.  You want to be the Bulls, you have to stop MJ.  MJ average about 33 ppg in the finals, and never scored less than 20pts in the finals.  He thrived on the adversity, the challenge, the ones that wanted him to fail.  This was Lebron’s moment!!  As much as he likes to shine, this was his time!  It was there waiting for the taking and as the clock ticked, LBJ was more than eager to facilitate and pass responsibility to someone else.  How could someone so talented virtually disappear?  Thats not the opposing defense, no one can truly stop the kid.  This was not playing with in the flow of the game or getting teammates involved, this was a lack of will. 

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather  a lack of will”

- Vince Lombardi

I am a Lakers fan and one thing that fans and naysayers all know is that the guy is competitive.  Like him or not, you have to respect his game.  Many in the league have discussed his competitive nature, his will to win, his drive.  He did not get the name the Black Mamba because of his talents, but because of his competitive nature.  It was his HEART, his DETERMINATION, his WILL to Win that caused this nickname to arise.  Magic Johnson had IT, playing center when teammates were injured. I believe D. Wade has that instinct, K Durant seems to have that instinct, D. Rose appears to have it, Charles Barkely an undersized big man had it…and believe(apparently, in the eye of naysayers even) Dirk Nowitski has that, and a host of others(Shouts to big shot Rob).  Kobe Bryant smells blood and looks to finish you at all times…he never feels he will lose and wants to know he did everything possible to prevent a loss……..this is that instinct that LBJ lacks and very much needs…

I put the Kobe Bryant comments at the end, because I am sure they will cause controversy and be the subject of another post at some point, but I am just saying what it is.  Many will feel this post is hatred towards Lebron.  Its not!  My fam is from Cleveland and I have always been a fan of Cleveland sports.  I have followed Lebron for sometime.  I have always liked Lebron and still do.  He has had only two mishaps to me(and I think they go hand in hand): the way in which he announced he was signing with Miami, and 2. Being exposed of lacking heart in tough situations……the way he gave up against the Celtics last year and the 11 total pts in the 4th quarter of the 2011 Finals(Dirk nearly averaged that a game in the 4th) was unacceptable

He is still young and maybe he can figure it out, but this is something internal…this is not something taught.  This is a burning desire.  This is something that wakes you up at night to head to the gym b/c you missed some opened looks.  This is letting everyone know that you are taking control of this game and using your talents as you know how.  Dribble Drive and drawing the foul and 1.  This is putting the team on your shoulders and letting them know that you accept the challenge.  This is smelling that blood and attacking.  This is  having heart!!

A GREAT AND RELEVANT READ ABOUT HEART AND DRIVE: “Driven From Within” by Michael Jordan

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8 responses

  1. Scar

    I think it’s absolutely hilarious that you put the round mound of rebound in your list of players with a “will to win”. Did you think about that? Another question… Everyone says wade is Jordan and LeBron is pippen because of the finals. So Wade the leader LeBron the follower, right? But then you put the blame of the loss on the follower not the leader? Does that make sense? If wade is Jordan why didn’t he use his “will to win” and win? Oh wait it’s still somehow LeBron’s job/fault even though he isn’t the leader. Ok just one more I promise. If wade was such great leader where was he when LeBron dragged the team on his back through the first 3 round of the playoffs? Who was the leader then? Was it still wade with 14 ppg against the Celtics? Where did his “will to win” go then? Oh wait that’s right basketball players have good stretches and bad ones LeBron’s good stretch was every game before game 3 of the finals (and game 4, I don’t care a triple double in the finals is a pretty decent game). But he gets crucified for not being the leader when in your opinion he isn’t. That’s as stupid as hating an athlete for having a large ego, or switching teams, or raising money for charity, or going by a nickname that the media gave you when you were in high school, or hating a player for being a leader/not being a leader. I think u should stop saying what Jordan did or didn’t do because NEWSFLASH his name is LeBron James… Not Michael Geoffrey Jordan. Get it let him play his career out and than you compare him. My resume is better than any 18 year olds, but who am I to say that any 18 year could make more money than me when it’s all said and done? Common sense.

    October 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    • I appreciate you reading and responding, which is why I blog….but my initial thought would be that you are definitely a Lebron Fan and appear somewhat offended by my post I think it is unfortunately that your view as a fan completely distorted what the blog was saying Not once did you see me blame Lebron for the loss. Not once did you see me say that Wade is the leader and Lebron the follower Not once did you see me neglect LBJ’s talent. The second paragraph expresses how highly I respect his talents….so beyond that oversight on your part…..lets address some of your other comments.
      1 When I stated that LBJ is not Jordan it is for several reasons. Firstly, I hate media pinning these players as the next Jordan or the next anyone for that matter. Let them build their own legacy. Secondly I said he is not like Jordan b/c of his style of play. In Cleveland, LBJ was known for facilitating as much as scoring…to a true fan of the game anyways. I said that Wade was more like Jordan b/c when the game is on the line, he seems to be the person to do whatever necessary to take over the game.
      2. You are correct, a triple double in the finals or any game for that matter is a great game. However I am not a stat person….I would be much more happy with a player fighting through a tough game and scoring only 2 pts if its the game winner. You often see a player having an off game, but has the ability and the WILL to step up when the game counts(See Dirk’s off game in the finals)
      3. If you could take your head away from the LBJ fan and comprehend what the post is about I am not comparing him to Jordan or basing his career on Jordan’s…this post is about him using the amazing talent he possess when it matters most I want him to want the ball in his hands in the clutch. Lets be honest….no one can stop LBJ but LBJ
      4. Last note….Yes I said Charles Barkely……..not many players listed at 6’4″ (generously at that) can have the heart and will to control the boards as he did.

      So as one of my earlier blogs stated, I am very high on respect, so the comments and words like “stupid”, common sense amongst others is unnecessary. However, I will not respond in any disrespectful way to you. And I will not even address the 18yr old making more money analogy, b/c it holds no merit. But I do think that you are a fan and unable to view the post from the outside….therefore not comprehending what I am saying. But you know….u dont have to….its just my opinion….who am I? LOL! Its not thats serious. I respect all of the players and what they do or do not do, does not affect my life.

      October 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm

  2. Scar

    Well the 18 year old thing I meant to say “couldn’t”. As in any 18 year old has the ability to surpass my current level. Not the opposite. When I said “stupid” it wasn’t a personal attack towards you but to me that really is stupid. For lack of a better word I’ll leave it at that. I am indeed a fan of LeBron James… Yes I know you couldn’t tell, but honestly I would speak on the behalf of any great player that gets crucified for not being a different great player. I always stuck up for dirk, kobe, KG, even AI. Because I respect talent not just my expectations. You said “Jordan would have never chased a ship like that” that’s a comparison, I didn’t see any mention of play style until your response. LeBron isn’t “chasing a ship” he simply went to a team that was capable of building a contender (a real one), rather than hanging in limbo while Mr. Gilbert gives him players like 33 year old antawn jamison, and 38 year old shaq. I’m not offended and I apologize if I came off as disrespectful, but a lot of this LeBron did this/didnt do this B.S. Is just bandwagon haters that would still support him if he failed in the finals for their team. Because we all know Jordan didn’t win until he was 28… I wonder how many people said he’d never be a winner. Kobe has that killer instinct only when the lakers payroll is above 80 million. 05-07? Missed playoffs and first round exits. Was he not a winner for those years because his teams sucked? I mean who could win with smush and kwame? I just say let every single player play his career out before deeming them a loser or a winner. Dirk was a “loser” until this year. You just never know. Even though u seem to think I am biased I’m sure through more debates you will actually see where I stand. But again I’m sorry if I seemed offended or came off to you in a disrespectful manner… Totally not my intentions. Barkley was 6’8″, and I respect his rebounding efforts, but his career is over and a winner he was not.

    October 17, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    • Not a problem…I respect you and your opinion. And I appreciate the clarity. Listen…I love sports always have. I’m not saying LBJ Im a loser…just wish he had more fire in him! It’s not about necessarily winning the ‘ship…I’m speaking effort. I am a Laker fan and when you look at Kobe’s stats during those “down years” u still saw that same killer instinct…that same will to win.
      The big three was not about going to a contender…that was a planne attack! I just try to be fair…my father was from Cleveland so I pull for all their teams..but would there be complaints if Kobe had left the Lakers…if KG ran from Minnesota? and again I don’t care that he left…in the post I just don’t like the way he handled it. It was a poor marketing decision. And please here me when I say I am not crucifying him. I just don’t think you find a majority that will say he showed will. I love the guys talent…but I wish he would maximize it more with a better jumper…more presence in the post…and to take over like we know he is capable.

      Thanks again for your comments and for reading..I hope you will continue to do so…this is how you see other viewpoints…and learn.

      October 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm

  3. Scar

    I understand your views. I’m not even gonna lie after the Boston and Chicago series I thought he had found that fire you speak of. It baffled me that he basically just stopped shooting, I mean his fg% only dipped by 5% so it wasn’t that he couldn’t make shots, he just wasn’t shooting. Strange indeed. On the whole “decision” thing… You know I actually thought it was a freakin great idea, he essentially took something that would have been big but of no real benefit to anyone besides the team he chose and their fanbase and turned that into $4 million for the boys and girls club. I mean I was underprivileged/poor as hell coming up and I went to those clubs because they’re a safe and clean place for kids to play. Now imagine how many kids got to get passes even cheaper than usual and club renovations to make them more fun and/or safer. I watched the decision and he wasn’t basking in all of the 25 minutes he was on stage. I mean he’s on TV for a living I don’t think the extra 25 was really his motivation, He was nervous and uncomfortable you could just tell. I really wished he had of just said “thank you Cleveland for 7 great years” or something to that effect. That would have went a long way in the pr field… He did screw up there. But the premise, the idea of “the decision” was a wonderful one, the execution however is where the problem was. I noticed that you mentioned kobe’s stats, now in a fairness LeBron’s stats in the Boston series back in Cleveland were off the charts, no 4th quarter meltdowns or anything. His last game in cleveland was 29 points, 19 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, and yes 9 turnovers, on 55% shooting. Kobe’s last game that same year against the celtic’s in game 7 of the finals 24 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and I believe 6 turnovers, on 25% shooting (not sure on the turns, too lazy to fact check right now). And thanks to Ron art- excuse me- Metta World Peace (catching kobe’s super airball, and cleaning up) they won the championship, but somehow it’s still popular opinion that lebron quit and Kobe willed his team to victory with his 15 boards. I watched lebron’s last game in Cleveland and he didn’t stop trying until there was a minute and a half left on the clock with a large deficit and he was GASSED! Do you see why I’m not buying this lequit stuff? That’s
    just a plain double standard. I don’t know man, just seems back-asswards to me. Yes he could be a better shooter even though he’s (career wise) a better shooter than both Kobe and Jordan from deep, and if people would check how many assists he gets from the post rather than how many points they wouldn’t say he doesn’t have a post game. He mostly uses the post to wait for the defense to collapse and then he a cutter or someone on the wing. To me that’s not a bad thing. He could force up a bad shot, but…. Why? When there’s a shooter wide open somewhere because he usually gets doubled down there. If he didn’t have a post game why would professional coaches and players decide it’s a good idea to double him then? I’m not saying he’s Tim duncan down there but they double for a reason. I’m not trying to argue for the sake of arguing, but honestly I like the way you think and I wanna know what you think about these points I’ve given you.

    October 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    • Hey, I am honestly with you and I do understand you viewpoints. I think I really have two major problems that are hard for me to get past…1. you even said it in your previous comment: “..it wasn’t that he couldn’t make shots, he just wasn’t shooting.” As a star player of his caliber, just as with the other stars, you can not do that. You have to take the good with the bad, you have to place the team on your shoulder and leave it all out on the floor. 2. With the whole “Decision” situation….that summer was HUGE for free agency and many of the players that did so, just signed as usual and get ready for work. Even Wade and Bosh, simply signed and let everything fall into place. I just do not think the whole ESPN special was necessary. The guy is worth a LOT of money and if he wanted to contribute to the Boys and Girls Club, he could have donated the same amount(I do think that the charity peace was the silver lining out of the entire ordeal and do not take that for granted at all.). I guess I am just more of an old school guy and you let your play on the field/court speak for you. He is amazing on the court when he wants to be and trust me…the last thing he has to do is bring more attention to himself. His play does that for him. On the flip side of that….when you bring that type of attention(Whether good or bad intentions) you create higher expectation to which you will be criticized.

      As far as the example with Kobe and LBJ in the Finals against the Celts…very valid point. But my thing is this….we realized that no matter how big the star, they are not perfect and will have off days. Kobe’s shooting % was lower, but I am sure that is b/c he had more attempts. Stars have to have a short memory and try their best to will a team through. Even through those missed shots, Kobe affected the opposing defense b/c they know he is a threat….when lebron became less active, the Celts were able to focus more on others. Through the replays there were several plays where he was single covered or just left opened. If active, even if on an off night…no one would leave him like that. Also, when you watch that game where Kobe got the 15rebounds, those were important rebounds. He knew he was off and had to find another way to benefit his team and even on that off night…he was there to take that final shot. You hae to WANT the ball when it matters most.

      As a former athlete, there is really no such thing as GASSED! That is exactly my point. When you have that heart, that will, you never quit, you literally have to be PULLED off the field. I stayed on the field with a broken ankle. I have seen teammates have to have their pads and helmet taken away because they kept trying to get back in the game with injuries. Championship series….i stop trying when I pass out. Thats my only point…..I dont know to the extent he can increase his Will, b/c I think you are born with it, but if he does………he hasnt even tipped the iceberg of his potentional!!

      Also, the NBA list Charles Barkley at 6’6″. I have spoken with people that met him and read articles from friends such as Michaels as research and they said that, even that was a favorable listing. I was even able to find articles where he more than once said that he was 6’4.75″

      To understand how I view and look at drive and competitive nature……The book Driven by Michael Jordan sums it up!!

      October 18, 2011 at 10:58 am

  4. Scar

    I get you on the “gassed” thing, but if you check the stats (I know you’re not a stat guy, but still) he led his team in EVERYTHING in both of his last 2 playoff series with Cleveland. I’ve never seen somebody do that, not Kobe, not Jordan. And every single other player on the roster suffered a substantial dip in doing their jobs, so when you’re playing a great defense, with 4 all stars on the roster I can see being tired when it’s quite literally 1 vs 5. It actually wasn’t just those last series either but the entire playoffs, and in the 09 season he led in everything except blocks (varejao, by 0.02) I mean that would tire out god himself (no offense if you’re highly religious). If anybody else in the league just did most of the stuff for their team and lost in the playoffs people will just say “they need more help” (ask the MVP). If that was LeBron, he would be gettin hated on so much. But the situations are similar, best regular season records, MVP’s everywhere, and a loss in the ECF. Sound familiar? But because rose hasn’t got cocky yet (he did say he thinks he’ll win multiple championships, just without the “not 1, not 2″ line) people say it’s ok. He just needs help. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love derrick rose. But he didn’t perform up to his own standards that series (I will not say he choked) but he did make an effort though, he just needs more experience. You gets all the respect from me for playing with a broken ankle, I too am an athlete (basketball, football) I’ve played through a broken wrist but I don’t walk/run on my hands though… Mad respect. If u think about it though if bron had of went to college he would only be in his 4th going on 5th year in the league. From what I’ve seen a persons prime usually is between 28-32 after that it’s pretty much all over. So I don’t think we’ve seen LBJ’s best yet… Which is kinda scary. I’m not saying he’ll be the best ever but it will be highly entertaining to watch no matter if he fails or succeeds. We were both off on Barkley by 2 inches… Priceless, but I remember seeing him standing next to Jordan (6’7″) and he was taller by about an inch, that and I had a Barkley player card when I was young and it said he was 6’8″, that’s why all these years I thought he was 6’8″. Semantics really.

    About the donating $4 million, nobody really cared enough about any other player in that class to generate enough attention (ratings) to actually turn a profit. That’s almost 25% of his salary (NBA only) that’s a lot, why should he do that when his name can bring home the money, in 25 minutes. And if you think about it the money raised from that program would have been his, so technically he did just donate it.

    But you good sir are the coolest blogger I’ve ever debated with. Is this you’re personal blog site? I’m bookmarking it sir, and I look forward to future intriguing debates with you….. You know unless we agree, then I’m pretty much screwed. Haha!

    October 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm

  5. Hey Scar……..The LBJ that I am seeing during these playoffs is a lot closer to the LBJ that I hoped and wanted to see when we were discussing this blog last year. I think the results speak volumes. I still think they have a tough series ahead and really dont care if they when or lose, but definitly pleased to see more heart and will shown by Lebron. Hope all is well with you!

    June 18, 2012 at 10:59 am

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