NBA Finals 2012: A Laker Fan’s Perspective

I can pinpoint the exact moment I changed my mind about LeBron James: it was late in Game 4 of the NBA Finals as he was kneeling on the sideline desperately trying to will himself back into the game after suffering debilitating cramps. They’d been working on him with ice and pouring Gatorade down his gullet like they were refueling a racecar at a pitstop. It wasn’t really working but LeBron was crouched down waiting to get back in, his face a mixture of anxious worry and fear. Off camera someone obviously urged him to drink some more fluids. 

“I can’t drink no more.” 

It wasn’t a dismissive jerk athlete yelling at a trainer, rather a plaintive soul baring a cry of desperation.  He looked like he was on the brink of cracking up.  It perfectly captured everything:  the man child let down by the one thing he could always rely on – his supremely conditioned NBA body.  What must have gone through his mind at that moment? 

“How?  How can this be happening?  After all this hard work?  After finally getting it about not coasting?  After watching relentless Russell Westbrook playing out of his mind and then matching his intensity?  And the inevitable headlines flashing in his head– LeBron James collapses again in the fourth.  He can’t finish.” 

But LeBron willed himself to keep going and his three pointer on one leg will stand as his signature shot.  The one where he changed the narrative. 

Narrative.  LeBron James has spent a long time letting other people control the narrative. 

Michael Wilbon tells us LBJ has been reading a lot lately.  That’s a good thing.  And maybe it has helped LeBron.  Exposed him to some different points of view.  Made him reflect and understand that just because Nike says you’re the chosen one does...

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