LeBron James is good. Oh so good. Every week we watch to see what he’ll do next. Nothing surprises us anymore. He’s destined to become an NBA legend. LeBron James is good. Oh so… distracted?
There’s no questioning LeBron James’ talent. He’s absolutely the most gifted athlete to ever put on an NBA uniform. He can go from mid-court to the rim in four strides. He glides through the air like he paid-off gravity to leave him alone. He is nearly impossible to stop. Simply put, LeBron James is amazing. There’s no other explanation.
As talented and entertaining as LeBron is, there are a few things that I question. Let me preface this by stating that I am young but old school, especially when it comes to basketball. (I prefer a solid five than a superstar and four spectators. Watching a player go one on five for 48 minutes isn’t my idea of entertainment.)
If you’ve watched LeBron play at all this year, he’s carrying himself a little differently. Last year, LeBron was all over the floor. He would out-work and out-hustle everyone on the court. So far this season, he’s played like hustling is un-cool. It’s not totally noticeable, but I have a knack for identifying when players are dogging it (probably because I’ve played with several). This bothers me. Hustling and outworking everyone else IS cool. LeBron is the best player on the floor night in and night out, not imposing his will and talent on every possession is a waste. (Yes, this is commonplace among today’s superstars, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.)
I watched LeBron play in New York City last week. Naturally, the focus of the game was on the possibility of LeBron in a Knicks uniform next season. All the celebrities and a few of the World Series champion Yankees were in attendance to yuck it up with LeBron. LeBron knows his way with publicity. He’s intelligent, marketable, and plays to the media. It’s easy to see why everyone loves him. On this night, I just wanted him to play basketball. For the first quarter, he did. In fact, he went off. LeBron scored 19 points on 8/9 shooting. After that, he started trying to do too much, and ended up turning the ball over 7 times. It was obvious; the stage was dictating LeBron’s play. NBA Legends like Bird, Jordan, and Magic would never use a regular season contest to play to the crowd. They were all business.
Where’s his head at? LeBron could show up starving, hung-over, and ill… and still be the best player on the floor. We all know LeBron wants to one day be an international billionaire. That’s a nice goal. Although, if I’m a teammate of his, don’t I want him concentrating on one thing and one thing only from November to June? We’re three weeks into the NBA season and all we hear about LeBron is his 2010 destination. It’s a constant distraction to himself and his teammates. While he’s the best player in the East, his team needs work to contend with the Celtics. This week, LeBron FINALLY declared that he would no longer discuss or entertain questions pertaining to his future destination. Thank God. LeBron is finally focused…
…or not. On Thursday, LeBron urged the NBA to retire #23 and petitioned NBA players to give up wearing the number in honor of Michael Jordan. Who cares? I know I don’t. Jordan is old news. He was absolutely the greatest player in the NBA. That was then. Now he’s cranky and irritable. If LeBron really wanted to initiate the movement, he should have given up his number 23 before petitioning others in the NBA to do the same. Does anyone know what Kobe Bryant is up to? No. As much as I root against Bryant, he’s totally absorbed in winning basketball games. LeBron should give up the charades and focus on how he can make it back to the finals. He’s been swept in his one and only finals appearance and it’s unlikely he’ll return this season. While he’s young, he won’t have forever. Maybe he should get to work.
You know, you mention a few times that LeBron is the best player on the court. But the best player on the court is unquestionably the one who makes others better. LeBron could never get my vote at the best player on the court – in his current incarnation.