The Problem with LeBron James

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Since Lebron James came into the league he has been a lightning rod for attention. In fact, the media has been following him since his high school days in Akron. And I believe that is his biggest problem.

From a very young age he has been surrounded by people telling him how good he is and how is is "destined" to be the greatest ever. He has clearly bought into that as evident in his "Chosen One" and "The King" tattoos.

To be honest, I find it hard to blame him. Contrary to what his entourage may tell him and what his raw basketball skills may tell us, Lebron James is just human. Being constantly told how great you never gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate who you are and what you need to do to improve. Anyone who wants evidence that LeBron James is not doing what he can do to maximize his considerable talents just has to look at the 2011 NBA Finals and the 2010 playoff series against the Boston Celtics.

When the defenses he was going against clamped down and did not give him a clear path to the lane where he is at his best, he did not do what the truly "Great Ones" do. Which is find a way to make your opponents pay. With his size, speed, strength, agility and pure raw talent he should be able to post someone up when his shot isn't going down, drive when he can't post, facilitate when he can't drive or shoot if there is no one to pass to. Instead he settles for jumpshots or passes the ball to inferior teammates and seemingly disappears when his team needs him the most.

Growing up, my favorite sport was basketball, my favorite team was, and still is, the Chicago Bulls, and favorite player: Michael Jordan. Jordan is considered, rightfully so, to be the greatest player ever to play the game. Which is intersting because when you look at the history of the game there have been players who have more points, more assists, more rebounds, and even more championships. What makes Jordan the greatest we have seen is what he did in the playoffs, particulary in the NBA Finals, where he had a career average of 35 points a game.

Watching those games growing up I knew, absolutely knew, the Bulls were going to win becasue Jordan was unstoppable. And not just because he was strong, fast, agile, and extremely talented, yes those attributes did help, but it was because he never allowed himself to become complacent. Look at his final three years with the Bulls.

I remember seeing that he lost a step and wasn't as agile as he was when he entered the league. That didn't matter, though, because he developed an unstoppable fadeaway that made him even deadlier in clutch situations because you could not guard it.

Many people are familiar with the story of Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team. Meanwhile, at that age James was being told by everyone around how good he was. Maybe ultimately that is the difference between the two. Jordan carried that slight with him through his whole career, and into retirement as seen by his Hall of Fame speech, while James has never been told he was never "good enough."