Player Focus – LeBron James
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Ever since the first time he laced his shoes for an NBA game, LeBron James has been expected to perform at a high level, and he has more than lived up to the hype. Even before stepping in the NBA, almost every basketball fan knew who he was and expected him to be an all-time great when all is said and done.
Entering the league at 18 years old, these expectations were unbelievably difficult to answer and honestly almost impossible to face, but LBJ has proven that he has the mettle to face anything head-on. Let us take a look at what make his game unique and great.
At the time he first came in the league, his athleticism was definitely unheard of. Standing at 6’9″, nobody ran as fast and jumped as high as him. These were factors as to why there was no doubt that he would be the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft. Later n his career, he would add to his strength also, which makes him almost unstoppable in the open court. His offhand is also amazing as he could dribble and finish with either hand, making him a nightmare to guard.
Due to his height, he can see almost everything that is happening on the court. While this is not really ground breaking, what he does with what he sees is what makes LBJ a very special player. Combining his court vision with his point guard skills, he sees plays unfolding before anyone does and can make a decision on what to do that will result in either a basket or a defensive stop. On offense, he can find the open man or make a pass that will result in someone else finding a better shot. On defense, he can see the play of the opposing team and either instruct his teammates on what to do or he can do it himself.
Despite being the most talented guy on the roster, or the league for that matter, and having the skills to score at will almost anytime, James has always been an unselfish player. He would almost always find the open man instead of taking a challenged shot. This is because he understands that scoring all the points will not exactly translate to wins. Scoring in bunches all by yourself may keep your team in the game, but this will kill chemistry and ball movement, 2 aspects of the game that are very important if you want to win a championship.
The main reason that he has been compared to the great Magic Johnson countless times, is because of his passing ability. Being the same height as Magic, he is also great at setting up his teammates. His passes are also not empty, which results in assists but not benefiting the team chemistry. LeBron is willing to make the pass that may not directly result in the bucket and these are the passes that really develops chemistry within the team, as it will involve most of the team, as opposed to passes that involves on two or three players at a time.
Wherever James goes, his teams have always been contenders. The reason is not only because of his talent, but also his leadership skills. He has the charisma and influence that brings out the best in his teammates and makes them want to win. His skills also put them in a favorable spot more often than not, that is how good he is. He has taken credit for wins and losses which makes his team respect him as their leader. They know that he probably has more knowledge in basketball than them and his willingness to share this results in team chemistry that is required in championship material teams.
Looking at all of these, there is no doubt that LBJ is one of the greatest players of all time and is arguably the best today. He has everything from talent, athleticism, and intangibles that every great player has. His MVPs, All-Star selections, All-NBA Selections, and championships make it hard to argue this point. While he has not surpassed the greatest ever, he is still in a league of his own in his achievements. What makes all of these amazing is the fact that he was hyped before even playing a single game which means there is pressure in his every move, and he has lived up to this hype while managing the expectations thrown at him.