The Mistrial of LeBron James

The new issue of ESPN the Magazine has a fun story on LeBron James.  Worth reading for all you sports fans.  A selection:

Ask most anyone who LeBron James is and you’re likely to get a blunt reply delivered with great conviction. Choker. God. Traitor. Hero. Arrogant. Generous. Undisciplined. Underappreciated. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is in disagreement. And over the course of this afternoon in Miami, they all will be proved right — and therefore all be proved wrong.

It’s an hour before game time. James’ bike is parked outside the Heat locker room, but he’s absent from the optional team shootaround. He’s not in the locker room. His favorite pregame snack, a ZonePerfect Classic fudge graham bar, remains untouched. Perhaps he feels his jumper doesn’t need fine-tuning at the moment. Maybe he’s watching film. If he were any other athlete, it would not matter. But when you’re today’s LeBron — hovering in the purgatory between the sins of The Decision and the redemption that will come only from multiple Larry O’Brien trophies — your punishment is to be questioned by those who have lost all faith in you.

Read it all.  I think two general things about this topic:

1) LeBron is a monstrous talent.  I cannot imagine what it is like to play against him.  He’s basically the tallest NFL linebacker and one who is also able to jump almost four feet in the air.  <gulp>

2) LeBron struggles in the moment.  He brings a lot of pressure on himself through his marketing and all that, and that raises expectations.  When the big moments come, though, he has in the past struggled.  Maybe that will change.

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