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