How you play the game

Hang on to your hater hat, I’m about to defend LeBron James.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money or win a championship in your chosen sport.  Professional athletes change teams all the time to achieve these goals. You’ve switched jobs to make more money once or twice in your life, haven’t you? 

And didn’t you call a press conference to announce your decision and rub it in the face of your old boss and co-workers and then predict that your new company would be incredibly fabulous with your fabulous self on board?  No?

Sorry for the bait and switch. I really can’t defend LeBron James.  It’s not always whether you win or lose the game, but how you play it.  It’s not always what you say, but how you say it. 

Maybe LeBron believes his own hype, or maybe he’s getting bad advice.  His PR folks should have known that a premature “King James” coronation would rub people the wrong way. (The fact that it’s a biblical reference makes it even worse.)  His big media launch when he left Cleveland earned him love in Miami, but the opposite emotion everywhere else.

After Dallas defeated Miami in this year’s NBA Finals, we ironically got our lesson in humility from the loudest loudmouth owner in sports, Mark Cuban. When asked how it feels to be a winner, he pointed the microphone at his coach and players and said “Ask them.”  You could argue that Cuban’s “humility” is as calculated as LeBron’s flash and fanfare… and I don’t care.  It was cool.

It may be hard to be humble when you’re so great, but it’s easier for fans to identify with those who let results do ALL the talking.  A little humility goes a long way.

Explore posts in the same categories: Communication

7 Comments on “How you play the game”

  1. Donato Pezzuto Says:

    Hi David:
    I am 59 years old. In those 59 years I can’t tell you how many stupit things I have said and done. I agree that Labron was over the top. But he is only 24 years old. I do agree that Mark was quite astute in how he handled that question. But he has years and experiences.

    don pezzuto

  2. davidgoad Says:

    Good point, Don. LeBron doesn’t look or play like a young man and its easy to forget he’s only 24. I did plenty of dumb things at age 24 too 🙂

  3. Laurie Says:

    LeBron does not get a pass because he is 24 years old. I have seen pee wee ball players with better manners. And that is what we are talking about here. We are taught from a young age how be good winners and good losers. LeBron has neither.

    • davidgoad Says:

      Some people are taught good manners Laurie. With so much money flowing behind sports these days, it seems that winning is everything.

  4. Angela Walker Says:

    I have a son who is nearly 24 years old, and believe me he makes many bad decisions. The thing is, I don’t believe you let a bad decision pass because of age.

    Dirk was only one year older than LeBron when they lost the championship to Miami in 2006. You didn’t see him sitting in a news conference telling everyone that tomorrow they would all go back to the “real world” and he would continue living his wonderful life. You didn’t see him making fun of players on the other team.

    No, after that series debacle, Dirk admitted to how much the loss hurt him and how he knew he let his team down – and then he quietly went about improving his game so that he could become the champion he wanted to be. The champion we all saw during this Final series.

    He stayed loyal to the team and city who has stood beside him through the good times and the bad all these years and continued to dream and work for a championship.

    When LeBron went to Miami, I took up for him. I said, “Who can blame him for wanting to become a champion?” Don’t we all want to “move up” in our careers, make more money, become more successful?? Isn’t that what it’s all about.? But after watching LeBron during this series, any admiration I have for this young man is greatly diminished at this point in time.

    Yes, he’s talented. No one can deny that. I can only hope that he comes away from this learning a lesson in humility that might go a long way in helping him grow into the man – and athlete – he needs to be to truly become a champion.

  5. Connie Says:

    I didn’t care anthing about this championship, David. I just love reading your stories! 🙂 They never fail to make me smile. Thanks!

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