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LeBron James Draws Inspiration from Bruce Lee, Mahatma Gandhi

Getty Images/Ezra Shaw
Ethan SkolnickNBA Senior WriterJanuary 3, 2014

MIAMI—Before and after every game, LeBron James shares a few words with the media.

And behind him, there are a few words he chooses to keep sharing with himself.

Since he came to Miami, James has posted inspirational quotes in his locker, in plain sight of reporters.

During his first season, when he was so heavily scrutinized, he posted this response to critics from President Teddy Roosevelt, part of a 1910 speech called "Citizen in a Republic":

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JUNE 12: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reads a book in the locker room prior to Game One of the 2012 NBA Finals against Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on June 12, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER:
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

James has enjoyed great victories since.

This season he has two other quotes in his locker, one on each side, flanking his seat—with "#StriveforGreatness" stickers providing additional decoration.

One quote is from Mahatma Gandhi: "Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow men."

That speaks to James' off-the-court work.

What about his on-the-court mantra?

For that, James can turn to his left and turn to Bruce Lee.

Yes, Bruce Lee, the martial arts legend.

The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature takes its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.

So why Lee?

"I'm a huge fan," James said. "Since I was little."

Always an action aficionado.

"I was into Bruce Lee, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan," James said. "A huge wrestling guy. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Undertaker and Bruce Lee was something people may not know about me."

And why this particular quote?

"I don't know, I guess it just resonated," James said. "And it can resonate to a lot of people, not just people in sports."

After losing to the Warriors, James gets his next chance to strike with his tools on Saturday in Orlando.

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