LeBron must embrace failure to become legend
Despite recording 36 points, seven assists and six rebounds during the 2012 NBA All-Star game, LeBron James committed a key turnover with seconds remaining that cost the East a chance at the win. (Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE)
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Jen Floyd Engel is a national writer for FOXSports.com. She covered local sports for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997 and became a columnist in 2003. Sports opinions? She's never short of them. And love her or hate her, she'll be just another one of the boys.
March 1, 2012
"Coward" aptly describes LeBron James.
Much debate already has taken place on this nomenclature in light of All-Star Game events. So I do not dog-pile capriciously. I actually Googled "coward" and discovered this word best explains The LeBron Problem.
A person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.
How can anybody watch LeBron's instinctual reaction to Kobe Bryant's playground-rules trash talk in the waning seconds of the All-Star Game and not agree "cowardly" is apropos? Kobe — right up in LeBron's face, knowing his Olympics and Finals demons — taunted LeBron with calls of "shoot the (bleeping) ball." And LeBron responded not by driving, not by pulling up and shooting over him, not with an elbow, not by running his skinny butt over, not by doing anything except tossing an ill-advised and failed pass to Dwyane Wade.
What else do you call this, this unwillingness to go to those hard places because he fears failure? The better question is, as the second half commences for LeBron and the Heat on Thursday night in Portland, how does anybody expect them to be a legit contender in light of this reality? If he is not willing to fail, what we have seen him become — this shrinking, scared, passive, anti-Jordan — will become his legacy.
This fear-of-failure narrative in regard to LeBron has been hinted at and flat-out said by a few. But what does that mean — to be afraid to fail?
I am not talking about a slogan-ish "Failure is the path of least resistance" plopped down on a T-shirt and sold at The Nike Store, or Michael Jordan's old-school ad about "I failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed," or its latest incarnation (a direct response to LeBron's whiny post-Decision "What should I do?" commercial, mind you) that says, "Maybe it's my fault that you didn't see that failure gave me strength, that my pain was my motivation."
"Become legendary" is the tag line.
And the fine line between great and legendary is a player's willingness to fail. But what does it really mean, this not being afraid to fail?
What I am talking about is embracing failure, envisioning boos raining down and hard questions and pointed criticisms coming, and welcoming them. I am talking about accepting that the ring may never come and the haters may be right. I am talking about, in LeBron's game specifically, accepting that what we might all end up being witnesses to is merely goodness and — just possibly — that he is incapable of greatness.
When he accepts this as a possibility — embraces it, really — then, and only then, does he have a chance to be legendary.
I have seen this firsthand, with Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki.
Dirk is probably my favorite athlete in all of sports, not simply because he is a great player or because he finally added a championship to his resume. What I love about his career is how many times I saw him fail and get back up.
He used to fail at those shots, too.
I remember a Sacramento series in particular when he and Michael Finley and Steve Nash all failed at seemingly the same game-winning shot. There was a point in more recent years when Dirk started passing more, giving up final shots to Jason Terry and almost anybody else available, leading to the thought that he did not have the stomach for it.
The difference between Dirk and LeBron was Dirk owned every inch of his failure.
There was no Nike commercial about "What should I do?", no fake coughing to mock the opposition, no taking his talents to South Beach for help, no alleged quitting in a playoff series. Dirk just stayed in Dallas and came up short again and again.
And when the Finals came around a year ago and the Mavericks absolutely had to have Game 2, he went charging into the lane anyway, finger rolling with his bad hand and knowing what was coming if he missed.
He was OK with it because none of that mattered anymore.
He already had failed, and that is why the only thing on his mind when he went for that layup was scoring. LeBron, on the other hand, remains very much image-conscious. He dressed up as a cold-blooded clutch player for a while, but it never fit. And now he's back trying to be popular, or at the very least not universally hated.
This is why Wade was throwing elbows and breaking noses at the All-Star Game, why Kobe was talking trash, and why LeBron was throwing weak passes instead of trying to win the game.
This is what the fear of failure does. It paralyzes you from the moment. It stops you from reacting, from competing. It stops you from doing what has to be done, regardless of consequences.
I keep hearing how LeBron's cowardice happening at an All-Star Game means it is not indicative of anything. But that is wrong. This is basketball, and it speaks to instincts. What does his gut defer to in moments with legendary potential?
Cowardice. And this is not exactly news.
We were so busy dissecting The Decision for how cruel it was that we forgot how it spoke to his instincts. How he handled telling Cleveland and how he handled big moments against Dallas in the Finals spoke to his lack of courage in unpleasant things, the very definition of cowardice.
Once he embraces that, then, and only then, will he be free to be legendary.
this is true... I think he's scared to fail that's why he doesn't succeed... The Dirk thing?? IDK... I think she should have explained that more... But nonetheless I hope LeBron just have that IDGAF demeanor and just dominate... Similar to the Bulls series... The Heat should win a championship this year ain't no way around it... Anything else will be a bust of a season...
LOL man this guy can't live!
He brings the East team all the way back, but then gets bashed for not shooting the last shot, wouldn't have even been a game had Lebron not went off.
He leads the Cavs to numerous playoff appearances, then gets bashed for leaving and going to the Heat, even though he asked for help over and over and over.
A Million players tweet about Kendrick Perkins getting his sorry ass dunked on, but Lebron does it and all hell breaks loose.
Then great article comes out about him having the best season ever, then this article comes out bashing him.
I swear I think he is top 5 most ridiculed athletes ever and he's only 27.
LeBron fans won't like it and will bring up his few clutch moments over the past several years, but I think this a great article.
I've never seen someone so worried about their image or brand. Last year he was supposed to have been taking names and embracing the "bad guy" role. This year he wants to be the good guy and be well liked, hence the quote about returning back to Cleveland one day. In Cleveland he named himself "the closer". Doesn't want to compete in the dunk contest because his image if he loses.
He's a once in a lifetime athlete and talent, but I think he's also a cowardly front runner. I hope he gets past it and becomes the champion we all expect.
"I think he is top 5 most ridiculed athletes ever and he's only 27."
Basically summed up what I wanted to say.
Jen Floyd Engel is a woman...therefore her opinion isnt valid
So... Guys like Karl Malone and Allen Iverson can't be legends just because they couldn't bring home a championship?... It's as if nobody watched Lebron absolutely throw the cavs on his back all those years. That was when he still couldn't legally drink alcohol and most of his classmates were still buried in college textbooks. He's only 27 years old now just entering his prime. We have atleast 6 more years of him near the top of his game. IF he doesn't win a championship it will be a lone dark spot on a otherwise unbelievable career. Lebron has always had the highest possible expectations, and he's amazingly been able to stay at the top of the game and exceed almost all of them. Good for him. Now for some reason the expectation is that he will be the best the ever to play the game. Sorry but who are we to put that pressure on anyone. In my opinion instead of pushing him to do the next most incredible thing ever... Sit back and enjoy..
For someone who writes things about what OTHER people do and then calling them a coward is almost laughable. I think it's pretty safe to assume none of us can do anything like Lebron does. If you think you can do better go out there and prove it to me. I can guarantee you that Lebron doesn't like the fact he hasn't won a championship and has/is doing everything he can in order to win one. If he doesn't.. Oh well.. He is still one of the best to play the game..
Biggest Lebron hater on this website easily.
Biggest LeBron nut hugger on this site easily.
I never knew speaking the truth was being a nut hugger fuuuuckkkkkk boi
Not always down with Lebron but honestly enough leave the brother alone. Can we tnt espn and yahoo and end the BS.. The dude is a great player. Media just wont stop manufacturing stories. Sh!ts annoying.
Truth? You mean opinion? And cut the fake Internet thug ish out BOI. You wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight.
It goes both ways. My opinion is my opinion. Hating is denying that he's a great player and what he's accomplished, etc. The criticisms about LeBron are legit and clear. Not one athlete in NBA history has been immuned to criticism. Even MJ was criticized. He shut up the critics and became the greatest ever.
At minimum LBJ will be a legend who breaks most of the important NBA records...Hes done everything BUT win a championship...but when he wins one you guys can say NOTHING and if he wins 3 than he is easily top five of all time when yu consider his stats...Stop hating, this dudes not a lebron nut hugger, hes just being realistic about his accomplishments, its just that ppl feel like they need to hate on him for him breathing
Love and hate relationship with the media.
They're also who have made LeBron one of the most hyped athletes in sports history.
Come to Detroit and see if I wouldn't bust a grape.
Call it as i see it, your a Bron hater.
haha. As funny as this thread title is he is not a coward. He just isn't what people want him to be, a closer. He cant get over the mental hurdle that prevents him from taking and making 4th quarter clutch shots. I think its hilarious, being a LAL fan, but in the back of my mind i know if he clears that mental hurdle he will undoubtedly be the best player today, and ARGUABLY ever.
"Come to Detroit..."
Ahhhhh... You lame as F. Who talks ish on Internet knowing you will never meet the other person? Comedy... Like I said, you wouldn't bust a grape. IF I showed up, you'd be scared as hell. I'd prob have to deal with your daddy instead of you.
Bro, you a character, and you'd never show up to Detroit, I KNOW that.
thread is so wack i can't even dignify it with a decent response
No one is hating on LeBron... I personally think he's better skilled wise than MJ ever was... So, why doesn't he have a ring??? Especially after playing alongside D. Wade and Bosh last year?? Unless you blind by your love for LeBron you had to notice he checked out of games the last 3 years of playoffs... Yes he had 36+ points and flirting with triple doubles BUT his swag completely changed... At this point it has nothing to do with his game or skills... It's all mental and with fans that come to his rescue all the time it's actually hurting him than helping... He's a grown a$$ man, who wants the success but not willing to put in the work to do it... CLEARLY!!! It took him how long to get a post game?? He didn't need to because sh*tty fans thought he was so great...
You know the sad thing about this after last year where he wasn't in the finals mentally AT ALL, I felt we came to the conclusion he was a front runner... Now we go into a different year everything has changed??? If anything we are the ones that right EVERY YEAR HAS BEEN THE SAME DAMN THING!!! People mention Malone, Barkley, and Ewing... Are ANY of them considered the GOAT? Even close to that??? Hell no!!! And none of them had the skills to be better than MJ... LeBron by far is the most talented player EVER... And his current skills is better than anyone (IMO)... So what the hell is it??
He's scared to fail... I say this all the time... LeBron is the only player in history that will have 38-11-11 and have you leave the game like "WTF is wrong with this dude?"... The All-Star game was another moment... Dude you just hit a bunch of shots with Kobe on you 1 vs. 1... You can't draw this up any better and you decide to pass??? WHAT??? Aren't you the best in the world Craig?? WTF are you doing??
But I'm too hard on a guy that told all of us to go back to our miserable lives while he's chillin in his mansion... Throwing parties and dancing... LOL... There isn't one excuse for him to lose this year... With or without D. Wade and/or Bosh... He need to grow some... Don't get me wrong it seems like EVERYTHING is his fault... Some is just people picking on him, the rest is correct... Especially this article... If it's not that then what is it? EXPLAIN that to us LeBron lovers?
To be honest Lebron brings on a lot negatives by his immaturity... I tipically hate wasting my time going over crap point by point, but what the h3ll
1st off don't try and make a point basing it on a Allstar game where 98% of the game had no defense.
2nd Lebron already admitted that he screwed up the way he handled freeagency.
3rd All hell did not break loose when Lebron commented on Perkins was dunked on... the only on to call him out was Perkins himself.
4th The greatest season ever can never be determined at the half way point... it never has and never will. Lebron is a stud of a basketball player but he has plenty of flaws in his game as well as his charactor. He has been spoon fed since he was part of the AAU circuit and apparently it has shaped him in a way that makes it more important to him to a "brand" versus a basketball player.
Your have the right to your oppinion all day long at nbadraft.net and so does everyone else. You don't need to invite people to Detroit to prove Lebron is the greatest... all you have to is click your heals and say 3 time and say There's no player like Lebron and it will become true at least in your heart and that should the important part to you.
Facts are facts:
1. If Lebron wouldn't have brought them back the game would have never been close....FACT
2. Maybe so, but the way the media bashed him was crazy, the way his hometown reacted was even crazier, people actually let another grown man mess up some of their lives.........FACT
3.Perkins picked out Lebron out of everyone, and Skip Bayless and them had a discussion about it, the man can't even speak his mind like the rest of the players.....FACT
4.I didn't write the article, and I never said Lebron's season made him the greatest player or none of that stuff, who doesn't have flaws? No one is perfect.
And as far as the Detroit comment c'mon son, no need for YOU to respond to it, had nothing to do with you, and he actually called me an internet thug and said I wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight before I said come to Detroit, so who is taking it further than a debate??????
Have a nice day monkey man lol
1 It's a crappy allstar game.
2 He messed up his own life correct... still wasn't the best way
3. You can't ever reference Skip Bayless here... he's tabloid sports and he doesn't count.
4 Only half a season... it's the playoffs that count.
As far as the Detroit comment I responded because I think you know that you know it was out of charactor for you to respond in that manner... I understand and know where you are coming from but you can respond better... I've read it previously. Not bashin' just a little re-hashing. That's what makes you Young Dave.
1. My point exactly! If it's just an All-Star game why are people making a big deal of him not taking the last shot in an ALLSTAR GAME??????
2.Nah,people who don't even know his middle name were affected by it which is stupid.
3.Another excuse, let Kobe Bryant have said something, it would have just been on his twitter account and that's as far as it would have went.
4. Doesn't make sense, I said the PER doesn't mean he is the best or not the best just another accolade to his resume, don't know where you brought the playoffs into this.
And it is what it is.
"And cut the fake Internet thug ish out BOI."
"You wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight."
So... wouldn't you be the fake internet thug since you're the one calling him out? Odd..
That's what i'm trying to figure out.
Michael Jordan didn't have an NBA championship at 27 either. I wonder if he was called a coward. The thing is I think anyone with a decent understanding of basketball thinks the Heat will win at least one NBA championship over the next five or so years. I just wish people would shut up about this and if he doesn't have one when he's retired then start aimlessly abusing him.
Oh and if he and his teammates keep blowing teams out by double digit margins he won't even need to be clutch
LeBron is by far the most criticized athlete ever. Just wait for the next time he takes a &$#%#&@! and doesn't flush, it will be a national crisis.
As a diehard Lebron hater, Even I can't deny what this guy has done throughout his career is unbelievable , I think it is because he is the first prep to player with ridicilous hype to actually completly live up to the hype on a consistent basis. But he needs to win a championship for few to get people to shutup
Hahah I was thinking the exact same thing. I love internet bullies.
Imagine if Lebron had whacked Kobe at the All-Star game instead of Wade. Half the people on this site would've hired hitmen by now
@YOUNGDAVE you're of the dumbest posters on here (in a Skip Bayless way)... Some of the things you say are beyond ridiculous and I wonder what exactly is "Great" to you... No one is saying LeBron isn't good, we just saying he doesn't have the balls to show up when he needs to... Are at least attempt the shot...
You made some pointless ass references...
1. It's an All-Star game... Well if the game means nothing then why even "try" to win... Why be disappointed with turning the ball over?? Why EVERY year the 4th QT is when players ACTUALLY play? Hell Kobe has a broken nose because of it... Child please...
2. You from the Mid-West... There aren't a lot of teams in Ohio that win or have stars to call our own like LeBron... And the way he exit the city was heartbreaking. He quit on the team then held a press conference in CONNECTICUT?? What? Then he say little ish like we winning not 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 then put up a dud in the Finals... Fair or not a lot of it is his fault... Believe it or not we do have a right to have an opinion on him... He play basketball for our entertainment... Which he is getting paid an enormous amount to do... Yall act like "The Chosen ONE" can't be criticized... To stop all this he need to win very simple... NOT 1 I'm talking 6-7
3. Fawk Perkins... No one on this site thought he was right and everyone think he's a douche... Carry on...
4. What does his PER have to do with him not stepping up when he need to? Yes he brought the East back BUT that was the easy part... The hard part is actually finishing the game...
I can't believe we still here arguing over LeBron ringless ass... Yes he dominated in that Bulls series and without him they wouldn't even made it to the Finals BUT when they got there what happened?? He was a completely different person... Did you not watch the Playoffs the last 3 seasons?? He CONTINUES to do this... At the All-Star game he said, "I let my teammates down"... We know LeBron that's all you say EVERY year... It's nothing new...
So @YoungDave aka LeBron nut lover... What's his problem why can't he show up?? 9 years G... What's the issue??
Trying to talk tough to dudes you don't know and will never see. You brave son lol
when people bring up Kobe, MJ, Bird, or Magic no one protect them with the disappointing loses... That's not something you should be proud of... Kobe in '04 and versus the Celtics... MJ getting swept... Bird losing to Magic and Magic losing to Bird... You know why??? Because when you lose that year mean NOTHING... Jordan scored 63 points on Bird AND STILL got swept... You LeBron fans say ish like well he took a team with Z, Larry Hughes, Gibson etc. to the Finals... SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ninja... He lost end of story... Similar team to A.I. and I don't see any of you protecting him like that...
Stop giving this man excuses to fail...
"Excuses are tools of the incompetent, which builds monuments of nothingness..."
We not saying he's not great or even discrediting what he HAS done... All we saying is he doesn't have the will win at times... That's it...
He calls me a hater for stating my opinion then comes at me trying to be hard by saying "fuuuucccck boi" and I'm the one trying to be tough? I wrote he wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight because most Internet thugs won't. He came at me like that, I just replied. The proof is on the page. I never said "come to Indianapolis". I wouldn't even write something dumb like that because I know ain't nobody coming.
And Scout4real... The same goes to you too.
Its a consensus he had a bad finals that you can't deny people are so quick to point at his faults in the finals, but lets keep it 100. Miami is not in the finals if LBJ doesn't put in serious work on Boston and Chicago. The same two series where Wade didn't show up yet fan/pundits are more that willing to push that aside. Its a team sport so you will always need your teammates to pick you up. But it always seem like when LBJ falters its so magnified, and people can't wait to pounce on that. Every little mannerism is dissected I'm not saying all criticisms are hatting, but it's almost ad nauseam now. Pundits are starting to sounds like fanboys instead of professionals and that's all the ammo fans need.
Your and idiot, right along with European Baller, top two dumbest people on this site, prolly two overweight never played basketball in ya life sucka's.
And Indiana Basketball is a sucka 2, who also never played basketball in his life.
I'm through with this thread, neg me all you want, makes me none, Lebron is the best in the game period and if that's nut hugging by telling the truth then o well, so be it.
But you 2 guys are &$#%#&@! I bet my last dollar, i'd kick both yall ass no problem.
IndianaBasketball played D1...no joke.
Gotta agree with Indiana here. I've never seen a more talented player both skill wise and physically. On the other hand, never has their been a player who cares more what others think of them than LBJ. It's simple fact. It's not as if WE care that LBJ got posterized, it was himself and his Nike crew who cared and absolutely had to try and rid the world of the evidence. He brings the stuff upon himself.
I geneuinely have no idea how stating the obvious makes you a hater.
EVERYONE thinks he's the best player in the world... And have been for the past 4 years or so... That's not what the debate or article is about... @YOUNGDAVE you're so caught up with your love for the man you don't know EXACTLY what people are attacking... It's more about his character than his skills... No one is denying his talent... He shows up at times but when its time to complete the mission he quits... You know how Scottie felt when he said LeBron is better than Jordan after that Bulls series... Then to have LeBron go into the finals and have ANOTHER awful Finals appearance... He felt like an idiot for saying that... But this time you can't even blame it on a lack of team... It's HIM... It ALWAYS been him...
I just don't understand how fans can continue to come to this man's defense... Like none of you have ANYTHING in common with him... He's a physical speciman who instead of working hard used his talents to drift through the league... Far as I know there aren't a lot of people out there that can rely on pure talent and physical skill to be the best... Jordan used to always say there are levels that you have to pass as a player... You can't skip them... LeBron has skipped so many levels and given so much way too early that it has hendered his progression... That's why he can't take the ridicule he so much deserve... You know why Ali was loved?? Because he talked s hit and backed it up... LeBron will dance on sidelines, do the decision, claim to win 7 championships, tattoo the chosen one on his back, and haven't won anything but an MVP trophy... This isn't Football or Baseball... Basketball is the only sport where a single player can have a dramatic outcome of a game... Or series... Stop babying this man...
Also, I would like to see you try to whoop my a$$ Pleigh-boi... In fact no one who delibertly call himself "Young" anything can beat me... Believe that Youngin...
How is IndianaBasketball a hater for stating the truth?
And he's right about youngdave. You seriously think he's going to drive over to another state to duke it out with a stranger off of an anonymous online forum.
Pretend tough guy, much?
Lol, i'm the tough guy but he came at me first with physical altercation remarks, i just called him a fuuuuccckk boi, he the one who said I couldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight, and that I was trying to be a thug lol
Right, you guys are clowns.
What do you mean he came at you first with physical altercation remarks? I see no such remarks.
You were trying to be a thug when you said come to Detroit. What a phony thing to say. No one is going to visit a stranger in another state from an anonymous internet forum to fight.
He said I wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight lol and all I said to him was he was fuuuuccckkk boi, what made him say that? What made him call me a thug? How does he know what i'm capable of?
But this is a forum u dickheads can suck it easy, i'm done talking to you guys, not like i'll see you in real life.
Done talking to you broads.