Questioning LeBron James' Leadership

What makes an NBA legend?  Undoubtedly talent and overall ability is the first measurement, but what gives the Larry Bird’s, Michael Jordan’s and Kobe Bryant’s the edge over the rest is their fire, their heart, and their ability to make the rest of their team rally behind them.  Lebron James  is one of the best players the league has ever seen and is arguably the most physically gifted player in history.  James has been on the edge of the GOAT talks since he entered the league in 2003, but I can’t seem to let myself believe he is among the likeness of the three aforementioned gods of the NBA’s storied history.  James’ basketball talent is without question top five all-time talent, but his lack of charisma and his affinity to put the name on the back of the jersey ahead of the name on the front makes me question his ability as a leader for the Cavs and his lasting legacy in the NBA

Obviously this line of thought is sparked by Lebron James’ recent comments in the first week of this season.  “This is probably one of the biggest sporting events that’s up there, ever,” James told his teammates in the tunnel before game one of the season.  “And it has a lot to do with me,” he went on, “I understand that. But I wouldn’t want to do it with no other guys besides ya’ll.”  

How condescending could you possibly be?  Read between the lines, Lebron is doing this for Lebron, and he’s taking these other 11 guys, his own teammates, along for the ride that is “the biggest spectacle in sports,”  make that the self-proclaimed biggest spectacle in sports.

Nevermind the talking down to his teammates, but when the Cavs lose, all of a sudden his teammates seem a lot more important.  “We have to move the ball, share the ball, be unselfish, and we’ll be a better team” James said. “A lot of bad habits have been built over the last couple of years, when you play that style of basketball it takes a lot to get it up out of you. But I’m here to help.”

How convenient, Bron Bron.  You’re under a heaping pile of media scrutiny for shooting a miserable 41% from the field and losing three of your first four and now it’s Kyrie Irving and the gang’s fault because they haven’t played intense basketball yet?  If I were one of James’ teammates I would not only not want to play with this guy but I would hate his guts.  I don’t care if you’re “The Chosen One,” if you are going to be a leader of an NBA team and an aspiring legend in the history of this game, you don’t act like this.

Look at the most recent icon of the NBA before Lebron’s rise to stardom.  Kobe Bryant brings the same intensity and same even-keeled attitude into every game he plays, whether it is game 1 or game 82.  Larry Bird kept the same quiet confidence every single day of his career.  And now we have LeBron James acting like the first game of the regular season is the most important game ever; simply because all eyes are on him.  Everything seems calculated, as if he is trying to be a leader, trying to be legendary.  If you ask me, legends and leaders don’t try to be that way- it’s in their blood and it pumps through their veins day in and day out.

Now that I think about it, this whole move back to Cleveland isn’t about Lebron James wanting to bring a championship to his own city (as he tries to show in his Nike commercial), it’s about Lebron wanting the rest of the world to watch Lebron win a championship in his own city.


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Main Photo via Gene Sweeny/Getty images