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NBA / Jun 15, 2011 / 1:15 pm

What The NBA Finals And LeBron Taught Us About Life

LeBron James

LeBron James (photo. Nike Basketball)

Glance back at your childhood and your sprouting love for the game of basketball. Remember how you were too innocent, too inexperienced in anything to know why anything was good or evil, beautiful or ugly. Remember as a 4-year-old how this ill comprehension made you choose your favorite player, Kevin Johnson, for the simple fact that you shared a first name. That’s me.

I vividly remember dribbling a basketball in the entryway to my house, on top of some drab-colored tile that belonged in the 1970s. I wanted to be Kevin Johnson. He was a point guard, the position which dribbles the most, my dad told me. So yeah, dribbling was what I was going to practice. I just wanted to be him.

As the years went on, I replicated games of other players. I practiced the fadeaway of Vince Carter in my front yard when I had the 24-inch-or-so vertical that allowed me. Playing alone, I threw up bricks so I could practice grabbing offensive rebounds like Shawn Marion. Just like Dirk Nowitzki, I made sure my elbow pointed toward the rim on my jumper.

I put in work. No way was I going to play in the NBA. Never. But I didn’t care as a kid, and I knew that I had to practice if I wanted to get better, no matter how relative “better” was to anyone else. Simple as that. Working at something takes time. Unconsciously, I knew it as a kid.

When the final buzzer hit 0.0 and the Dallas Mavericks had finally won an NBA title over the Miami Heat, it went like this; years of painful, oh-so-close moments for the Mavs culminated in a tireless work ethic that eventually led to a ring. Meanwhile, a recently-put-together Heat team had itself humbled behind embarrassingly confident rhetoric.

Everyone has blasted the Heat at this point, so I want to be reasonable when reviewing the conception of this team and the reasons they lost. I’m not a LeBron James lover, nor an over-the-top critic, but I see him at a crossroads, in limbo if you will. He has sins of fourth quarter failure in the past but the promise (and talent of course) to redeem himself with at least one ring in the future. That chance is high, no doubt.

And to me, deciphering LeBron is important in understanding the Heat’s future as a whole.

It’s not that he didn’t show up in the fourth quarter for the majority of the NBA Finals. That’s well-documented. There’s no arguing that it wasn’t him to take over in 2011, otherwise, he would have at least tried. That in itself shouldn’t be a reason for hatred toward LeBron coming from any basketball fan. He doesn’t have that sacred “it” factor – at least not now – but that’s no reason to trash him as a human being. That’s not fair.

***

Children have it right. They see a basketball player, maybe many, and they want to be them. They emulate them and work on their game to replicate every move, every play of their favorite stars. Of course, as they grow older, the game intensifies, the competition increases. They need to put more hours in as this happens. Or, they realize they’re not destined for the NBA so some of the 24 hours in the day go to other activities: school, friends, new passions, whatever. The love of the game doesn’t wane, but the thrill of becoming their hoops idol does.

For James however, the profession requires that he continue this process, no matter the triple-doubles he puts up. And that’s the problem. He wowed us in Cleveland and even impressed us in the series leading up the the 2011 Finals. So when James takes a step backward, critics criticize, fans pout and believers lose belief.

I can’t blame only LeBron. The media built this monster that was supposedly a mix of Magic and Michael. Ever since he was a kid, LeBron James has bought into that. He probably doesn’t remember the few years where his idolization of NBA players was something real, because soon, LeBron was told to idolize himself.

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  • Sean Sweeney

    “He probably doesn’t remember the few years where his idolization of NBA players was something real, because soon, LeBron was told to idolize himself.”

    Can’t say it any better

  • lny

    first.
    it told us that haters lives are inferior to lebron’s

  • lny

    i mean second

  • beiber newz
  • SWAT
  • da man

    Professional basketball is two things: a game and a job. How many of us get paid an exorbitant amount of money to play a game? Regardless if Lebron finishes his playing career with 0 or 7 rings, it doesn’t somehow make him a bad person. That’s the distinction here, people are letting their personal bias affect how they view him as a player.

    Does Lebron often put his foot in his mouth? Yes. However, those comments he made after game 6 didn’t bother me. It’s like when someone calls you ugly or stupid when you aren’t. You just say haha and brush it off. If Lebron’s comments hurt your feelings, then maybe what he’s saying rings true on a certain level.

    For everyone pointing out that Lebron never went to college, cut it out. All college taught me was how much alcohol I could consume before throwing up and how to creatively procrastinate.

  • SWAT

    hahah apprantly stevenson wasnt aware of his alcohol limit. have yall followed the link? the story gets better dude was wandering an apt complex he doesnt even live close too! LMAO. how the hell did he get there?

  • beiber newz

    cops nowadays like arresting celebs becuz they want to say they got that guy or this guy. f the police.

  • superfreak

    @ da man

    It definitely would of helped going college, considering he probably didn’t really “attend” high school either. LBJ says a lot of things that makes it hard for fans to like him. But maybe he doesn’t care about that, who knows.

  • kh

    Nice read!
    We learn our most important lessons from the perceived “failures” in our lives. I am looking forward to Lebrons response next year (or more importantly this off-season).

  • jdizzle

    Nice article. Bottom line is hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard

  • http://recoverthegospel.com Eddie

    That’s why even though Kobe may be hated, he is still respected. That dude’s work ethic is both legendary and well documented. When you have been to 7 NBA finals (and won 5) multiple all star games MVP awards (reg. season all-star, finals), A multi-millionaire, All NBA teams etc. The dude still comes out and says that this year was a “year of my life wasted”. That is serious. Dude is still hungry. Still not wanting to be written off. One of my favorite commercials from Kobe is the Sprite commercial back in the day where he is working out among the newspaper clippings. It is definitive of his career. It wasn’t just for show. With as much “mileage” as Kobe has on him, and for him to still be performing at the elite level he is speaks VOLUMES about his work ethic. It speaks for itself.

  • beiber newz

    kobe : age 32, 25ppg, in under 34 minutes a night. who does that at his age with all the years he’s played ?? just sick.

  • beiber newz

    i once told a celtics fan that trading kobe for ray allen AND paul pierce would be UNFAIR for the lakers. i still hold that belief.