I’m not a big NBA fan. I really don’t watch basketball that much except for the NBA finals. Maybe.
I do watch the NCAA Final Four if there’s a team in which I am interested is playing. Like Duke.
I did watch “The Decision” with LeBron last July and I keep up with sports in general via ESPN. I have to say I was rooting for LeBron to lose, not because I don’t like him or the decision he made but because I didn’t like HOW the decision was made.
Anyway, I had this thought in the middle of the season when the pundits on ESPN were talking about the issues with the Heat. I had it again at the end of the season. I had it again as the finals finished last night.
I just don’t think LeBron wanted to be “The King” anymore. At least for this year. I think he preferred the role of prince.
Here’s my theory. LeBron came out of high school, drafted by the hometown Cavaliers, and was to be the savior of the team and the city. That’s a lot of pressure for 18 year old kid. Granted, he embraced it and by his nickname, he obviously thought he was capable of withstanding the heat. For seven years he labored, with not a lot of help, and got the Cavs to the finals where they lost to the Spurs.
After 7 years, LeBron was tired of the pressure and being the man. He wanted someone else to be the man. Being the man was harder than what he thought it would be.
So he took his talent to South Beach and the Heat. To Dwyane Wade’s team. He didn’t have to be the man. He could be the Prince in Dwyane’s court and he even had a knight in Chris Bosch to fight with him.
You could see that in how he played in the 4th quarter all year. He didn’t want the shot. Wade was the closer.
You could see it in how he played in the 4th quarter during the NBA Finals. He was non-existent.
I think LeBron was tired of the being “the man.” He wanted someone else to take on that role, at least for a period of time. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to give up his kingship.
It is hard to be something you are not.
There is a leadership lesson in all this as well. Sometimes, we in the second chair want our place in the first chair. That’s an awful big chair sometimes. When we get our shot, we work hard, but for some there comes a time when we would really prefer the comfort of that second chair again. There’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe we are more second-chair folks.
For others, those in the first chair, there also comes a time when they need to change chairs. It gives a different perspective. Sometimes the pressure of the first chair wears us out and we need to play second fiddle for a while so we can rest, learn, and gain new perspective.
It’s ok to play second fiddle sometimes. Just don’t be arrogant enough to want to play second fiddle but act like you’re still the band leader. Humility goes a long way.
LeBron may just win a championship, as soon as next year assuming the labor issues get worked out. He’s a great player in general, and with teamwork and humility and hard work, they should win a title, and that would be good for basketball.
But I don’t think this year he was ready mentally. He had much to learn.
I heard an ESPN guy say recently: “There are players who want to be great and there are great players. LeBron was is a great player. Michael Jordan was a player who wanted to be great.” The difference in the two was the work ethic, and the acceptance of responsibility and pressure according to the pundit. It just may be that this loss will motivate LeBron to want to be great.
Losses do that sometimes.