To me, a good leader leads on and off the court. They are like the coach in the game. They bring out the best in their teammates because they are so passionate about the game and have one common goal: to win. I think an off-the-court leader leads by staying away from trouble, getting involved in their respective communities, attending charity events, and helping out those in need, and also teammates.
Dwayne Wade in my opinion is one of the three kings in the league today, the others being Kobe and Lebron.
I remember watching Wade at Marquette lead that team to a 27-6 record, helping Marquette win its first and only Conference USA championship. He went on to lead that team to the Final Four.
Although they didn't win, he put on a hell of a performance against Kentucky in the Elite Eight: 29 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds. That is incredible, and he had his teammates believing they could win it all.
Then, in 2006, he led the Heat to an NBA title with Shaq as his co-pilot. The Heat were in an 0-2 hole to the Mavericks. Wade's performances in Games Three, Four, and Five put the Heat ahead 3-2.
He scored 42 points in Game Three, 36 in Game Four, and 43 in Game Five. In Game Six, behind Wade's 36 points, the Heat won the title. He became the fifth-youngest Finals MVP in NBA history and recorded the third-highest scoring average by a player in his first NBA Finals with 34.7 points.
He really showed he not only was one of the top players in the league, but also one of the top leaders, leading his team to a title when they were on the brink of elimination.
I also admire how not only is he the best player on the Heat, but how he plays both ends and he is also the best defender. In my mind, he is the first player since Michael Jordan to dominate both ends of the floor.
He went on to be the sixth man for the Redeem Team and led them in scoring. Then, in 08-09, Wade came back with a chip on his shoulder after many doubted him after his injury. During the season, Wade became the first player in NBA history to accumulate at least 2,000 points, 500 assists, 100 steals, and 100 blocks in a season and is the first player 6'5' or shorter to register at least 100 blocks in a season. He led the Heat to a huge turnaround and went on to lead them to the playoffs.
He also participates in his community and attends many charity events and fundraisers for different causes around the world.
KG is without a doubt one of, if not the most, passionate player in the game today.
He led the turn around for the Celtics, along with the help of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and they went on to win the title. He is the leader of this Celtics team, he anchors the defense, and is the coach on the court and in the huddle. He helped Big Baby Davis and Kendrick Perkins enhance their defensive abilities and offensive post moves. He also has a special relationship with Rajon Rondo, kind of like a father-figure on the court.
These are the many reasons I think he is one of the top leaders.
Kobe Bryant has never really been the best at leading, but this year I think he developed into a great one.
In my mind, he helped everyone grow up a little this year. We saw when the Lakers played Boston last year they looked like a scared team with no leadership. It reminded me of an up-and-coming young boxer going into a face-off with Muhammad Ali in that they weren't prepared.
This year against the Magic you saw the total opposite. The Lakers were prepared and looked older and more experienced. Kobe was a leader throughout the whole playoffs. When he saw Ariza was getting torched by Carmelo, he took the initiative and said "I'm the best player, so I'll guard the best player on the Nuggets."
In the Magic series it looked to me that for the first time since Shaq left, Kobe actually trusted his teammates. The rest of the team looked to take on more of a role in helping out Kobe. I loved seeing Kobe develop into a leader, and he has become one of the best all time.
Tim Duncan isn't as vocal as the rest on the list, but he has won more than all of them except Kobe.
He is, plain and simple, a winner, and he leads by example, not talking. Duncan himself commented on his "boring" image, stating: "If you show excitement, then you also may show disappointment or frustration. If your opponent picks up on this frustration, you are at a disadvantage."
He has won three NBA Finals MVP trophies. Duncan, aka The Big Fundamental, is just a winner and a great leader.
LeBron has been a leader since high school. I know a lot of you are thinking he hasn't won a title like all the others, but let me explain.
LeBron led his high school team to three state titles and he was Mr. Ohio three times. When he came in the league, he had to be the man and leader of his team more so then any one else on the list. He has led the team to more wins each season he has been with them and took them to the 2007 NBA Finals, although they were swept.
He is a player-coach on the court and he does both off the court as well. One case which I admire a lot is when Delonte West, a teammate of his, was struggling with depression and LeBron told Delonte "I got your back; if you need help with anything or just want to talk call me." Now, if that is not being a good leader and teammate, nothing is.
The NBA did a poll about who would you want as your teammate and the players voted LeBron in a landslide. This summer, teammate Mo Williams hosted a basketball camp in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. He asked LeBron to come out and help. Now LeBron didn't have to, but he saw a teammate asking for help and he went out there.
When LeBron won the MVP this past season, he said "this is a team award and I owe it all to my team because without them none of this is possible." He awarded the whole team with Polaroid cameras as an act of gratefulness for them helping him win the award.
When Team USA was in training for the Olympics, he bought every player a pair of BEATS headphones by Dr. Dre. When asked why, Lebron said "they aren't just teammates to me. I look at them as brothers."
Every summer in LeBron's hometown of Akron, Ohio he hosts a basketball camp for kids, an annual bike-a-thon, and many other events. This is why in my mind LeBron is the best leader in the game today; he takes a team of average role players and they achieve a 66 win season. His teammates believe in him, they follow him as he is the leader of the team. It is so astonishing to me how he can be so young and have such leadership qualities while having a great character.