It isn't easy to maintain modesty when the basketball world is engaged in endless obsession about your attributes and exploits, dishing out accolades with even greater frequency than you dish out assists.
Still, after winning the 2012 NBA championship and the Olympic gold medal, LeBron James at least paused for an instant when asked if there's ever anything he attempts to add to his repertoire that he finds to be beyond his reach.
"Uh, well," James said. "I mean, anything that I’ve kind of said I wanted to work on, I’ve been able to maybe not be great at it, but I’ve been able to implement it into my game. When I said I wanted to shoot better, I started working on my shot, I’m a better shooter than I was when I came into the league. I wanted to handle the ball a lot better, I’ve become a better ball-handler. But I still have room for both of those. Continue to handle the ball a lot better, and continue to shoot the ball better."
Through 20 games, here's what has been slightly better than it was during 2011-12, a season in which he won his third NBA MVP:
His overall play.
No, it's not necessarily reflected in his team's performance; Miami, while 14-6, has been shaky at times, especially defensively—struggling with shorthanded Cleveland and San Antonio squads, losing to woeful Washington and getting beaten soundly by the Knicks (twice), the Grizzlies and the Clippers.
Still, it would be a stretch to say that James has slipped in any significant way.
Here's a breakdown of a superstar still on the rise:
(All quotes featured in this piece were collected during the course of the author's coverage of the Miami Heat for The Palm Beach Post. All statistics are accurate as of Thursday afternoon.)