Pop Praises LeBron’s Mental Growth

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Sometimes it takes one to know one, a champion.

So when San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich notices and praises Miami Heat star and reigning league MVP LeBron James, who also earned MVP honors in The Finals last season, you know it’s high praise.

Popovich did coach the team that denied LeBron his first crack at a title, back in 2007 when he led the Cleveland Cavaliers into The Finals only to be swept by the mighty Spurs. He would know better than most just how far James has come since then.

And he said as much Sunday before the Heat beat the Spurs in a preseason game over the weekend, telling our main man Michael Wallace of ESPN.com:

“He’s so good already,” Popovich said. “We all know what his skills are. He’s a great passer, he can rebound, he can defend. But I think, if anything, he is maturing mentally in the sense that he is enjoying playing the game. He doesn’t listen to talking heads (media critics) anymore — or a lot less than when he first came in the league.”

When informed of those comments after the game, James told ESPN.com that Popovich’s assessment was on point.

“I appreciate that,” James said as he left AmericanAirlines Arena. “Pop knows what he’s talking about. That’s why he’s one of the best to ever coach this game.”

Their whole mutual admiration society bit aside, even LeBron’s biggest critics would have to admit that he made great strides the past two years. The agony and pain of defeat in The Finals, this time at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, paved the way for his most remarkable season, to date.

Where he goes from there is up to him. But with the mental and even emotional growth noted by Popovich, there is no reason to think LeBron will ease up now.


  1. mv3 says:

    @thedream45 , please wake up…

  2. euro says:

    contrary to what someone here said, Lebron is not a dummy. He’s SAT score was decent.

  3. TheDream45 says:

    I don’t care how anyone puts it Lebron will never be better than Kobe or Jordan. I don’t care how anyone puts it he didn’t earn that ring. IF HE’S OH SO MENTALLY MATURED then why’d he trade in the first place. The only thing LBJ lacks in his “mental maturity” is the competitive fire to win at all costs. He”s a leader but not a complete leader. Everyone compares him to Jordan but what they forget is that Jordan had a competitive drive to win and make his teammates better as well. Jordan accepted nothing less than the best from himself and his teammates. He was tough on them to make them into an allstar team. Lebron isn’t as tough on his team. He’s too lenient. If the heat wanna win another ring Lebron has to step his game up even further and show that he’s even hungrier to win another ring. He’s a good leader but he needs to be A LEADER NOT A GOOD TEAMMATE!

  4. Kobeng-Burat says:

    @Patty If the brilliance of Kobe Bryant you’re talking about is being a ballhog… I might as well stay on being DUMMY like LeBron….If kobe was playing for a team like CAVS… He won’t get recognize by the league… Even the name kobe….He’s lucky because from the start of his career he played for a big market team…. You obviously don’t know anything about basketball…. You are not old enough to speak about basketball… You didn’t saw MJ played for the bulls… Which is that time was a small market team… You definitely didn’t saw Hakeem Olajuwon BEAT monster SHAQ single handed… I’m no lebron fan…. But DWADE… 2003 Lebron was most discuss player which is to me was like well what can he do… He’s just fast, That’s all… But Now 2012-2013 LBJ becoming a perfect specimen for most complete player…. BUT I still go with my man DWADE…..

  5. Heat will need offensive rebounds ,period. They need a post besides Bosh because Bosh plays as 4. Need a 5.

  6. OK, he is hurt he is hurt, he understand and he is not shiver aside like he doesnt mean anything. I mean, when you see him playing in the arena he gave all what he had in the court, so what we are talking about, he is among 20 all time. I bet you he had missed only one practice in his whole career.
    By the way
    Anyone knows what happened with new contract rookie heat Justin? The white one who plays as 5.?

  7. Patty says:

    Lebron has a High IQ for basketball but not a high IQ Intellectually. He is a DUMMY.

    Nothing like the brillance of Kobe Bryant.

    • Fo Real says:

      Really.. you said this you are a complete TARD!

      LeBron is Morally, Ethically, Intellectualy and just an overall better Person.

      I don’t recall LeBron being in trouble with the law for anything.

  8. Fo Real says:

    Let The LeBron Era Begin!!!

  9. bballjunkie1 says:

    Ditto !!