It's In His Head: Why LBJ Could Be, But Probably Won't Ever Be Better Than MJ
Enter LeBron James.
At 6'8" and more than 250 pounds, James is very well built. But he also has speed that is amazing for a person of his size. How many people his size, or anyone else for that matter, can dunk from the free throw line ?
LBJ also has basically created a new form of block, the chase down . And James is only 25 and coming off an incredible MVP year where he averaged 29.7 PPG, 8.6 APG, 7.3 RPG, 1.6 SPG, and one block per game.
James is, unquestionably, one of the most physically talented players in NBA history with solid stats, two MVPs, numerous All-Star appearances, and a U.S. gold medal from the Beijing Games.
But the question lingers: Why can't he win an NBA Finals after seven years as a pro?
In his first several years as a Cleveland Cavalier, the surrounding cast around James was terrible. However, for the past couple of years, James has had a good, yet not great, supporting cast.
So, yes, the supporting cast is part of the reason King James still doesn't have a ring, but the other half is on James himself.
James' latest performance in the playoffs was not dominating by any stretch of the imagination. He did have a triple-double in the last game of the year—Game Six in the Eastern Conference semifinals against Boston—but it was one of the most not-a-factor triple-doubles in NBA playoff history.
Would Michael Jordan have played like that if he was in James' position, or would he have gone all out, even when he knew he wasn't going to win?
Jordan didn't have James' physical talent, but he did have something LBJ doesn't—and it's in his head. This is what separates James from the Greatest Basketball Player of All Time, Jordan.
With Jordan, it was all about winning. It was his top priority. And when the game was on the line, MJ had the ball in his hands, and he often delivered .
James at times forces shots when a teammate is wide open, or sets his mind on passing when he should be the one taking the shot. Sure, James has hit some pretty incredible shots , but he has to realize what his top priority is, and always should be—winning.
Winning might mean scoring 50 points or having 20 assists. James has the physical ability to be an incredible player in the NBA; but he needs to have an obsession with winning to the extent that MJ did, which I think is a special gift that James doesn't have right now.
James is stronger, faster, and bigger than Jordan, but until he becomes obsessed with winning, he won't even come close to being the Greatest Basketball Player of all Time.
Yet, LBJ is still only 25 and has many more years left in the NBA. What will his legacy be when he leaves the league? Only time will tell.
Few are blessed with physical talent like James, and those blessed with physical ability and mental tenacity, like MJ, end up being the greatest of all time.
The key to James' future success is all in his head.
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