LeBron James wants all of our adulation — indeed, he expects it, nearly demands it — and none of our criticism. It’s the inevitable result of our insistence on godding up every athlete who shows precocious talent. (And yes, guilty as charged.) What happens is this: The separation grows so drastically so quickly that some of these guys immediately see the world as consisting of two separate universes: Themselves and Everybody Else.
And Everybody Else, sad to say, is dirt.
Magic Johnson said something profound in the postgame show. The topic was LeBron, of course, and his tweeted comments suggesting that he didn’t win a title this year because God decided it simply wasn’t yet his time. (Doesn’t it seem that hiding under God’s skirt in times of failure has become the refuge of those who refuse to accept responsibility?)
Clearly exasperated, Magic said what James should have said, and I’m paraphrasing: I’m sorry to all my fans. I’m going to work hard this offseason to get back here and hopefully win it next time around.
And then Magic looked at the camera for a second longer than usual, as if to say, “How bleeping hard is that?” James is the perfect case study of the I’m-Somebody-And-You’re-Not phenomenon. He came of age in what might become known as The Entitlement Generation. I have a friend who owns a company that hires many recent college graduates, and he says the self-esteem of the 22- to 28-year-old set is both astounding and misguided. They’ve been raised to believe they should be overflowing with personal pride — not a horrible concept in moderation — and they’ve passed the elementary-school classes to prove it .They’ve grown up in a world of parents who worship them rather than discipline them, and they’ve rarely been given honest, frank assessments of their talents. Everybody is good at everything, nobody loses, nobody fails, nobody should be called to account for their inadequacies.
James is the phenomenon in the fun-house mirror. He’s been godded up since he hit puberty, and he will continue to live a life of vast luxury and significant professional success. It would be stupid to think he won’t ever win a championship, but it’s equally stupid to think it will come without some serious alterations to his mindset. Because you can talk about the Mavericks’ zone defense (it was confounding) and Dirk Nowitzki’s persistence (he was everything James was not), but in the final analysis LeBron’s failings looked to be failings of character, not talent.
It’s funny, because as I was watching him speak in the press conference before he broadly dismissed everyone who isn’t him, a thought struck me for the first time: It would absolutely stink to be LeBron James right now.
Applies to trend following trading too.