Over the past few weeks, LeBron James has positioned himself as a sole leader of this Cleveland Cavaliers team.
He isn’t just the star player, he’s the teacher, the mentor, and the father figure. During his first stint in Cleveland, LeBron was undone by a lackluster supporting cast. Now he intends to take responsibility for making that supporting cast better.
After a recent win over the Boston Celtics, LeBron said he views the rest of the young Cavaliers as his children. When asked to explain the team’s defensive struggles, he made an analogy to kids who who are visual learners learning to read textbooks (via ESPN):
“I think on our team we have to see what we do well and what we don’t do so well. It’s easy to say it, but I kind of used this analogy early this morning: Right now, I feel like the young guys are like my kids. They’re not accustomed to reading textbooks. They like iPads. And you got to show them it looks better for them and that’s the process we’re in right now. You can’t just tell them. You have to show them on film and see when they do it right this is the result of it.”
1. This is a little bit over the top. LeBron is infantilizing his teammates. He’s placing himself above them, which of course he is. But guys like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and essentially Kyrie Irving are ultra-competitive professional athletes making millions of dollars a year. How do they feel about a teammate, even LeBron, calling them children in public?
2. Intentionally or not, he’s undermining coach David Blatt here. Blatt should be the one making convoluted analogies like this, not LeBron. LeBron wants to be the leader, but he might be doing so at the expense of a new coach that’s still fighting for legitimacy on the NBA level.
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