LeBron’s genius is not in the details


VIDEO: LeBron James goes off for 35 points and 10 reounds in the Heat’s Game 2 win

SAN ANTONIO — Geniuses were put on this Earth to provide greatness, not details.

Ted Williams gave better lessons to opposing pitchers than to fellow hitters. Ben Hogan never did fully define how he made the golf ball talk.

So here is LeBron James, the virtuoso of his age, in the same predicament. He spins down the lane like a funnel cloud, daring anyone to stand in his path. He pulls up to sling in jumpers that might as well have come down the clouds. He waits, calculates like that Big Blue chess-playing computer, and makes exactly the right move by not taking the shot with the game hanging in the balance.

But ask the artist to recreate the magic on a blank canvas and he shrugs.

“Just play the game, try to play the game the right way,” he said.

The air conditioning was back working on Sunday night, but now they need to call in an electrician to the AT&T Center after James shot the lights out in Miami’s 98-96 win in Game 2 of The Finals.

The first time back on the court in The Finals after he had to be helped off the floor due to extreme heat and cramps, James was cooler than the other side of a pillow in enabling Miami to even the series at 1-1.

It’s not just the 35 points and 10 rebounds and the unstoppable run of 6-for-7 shooting in the third quarter, but the aplomb and the utter confidence with which he does it.

“Look, he’s the best player in the game,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “Does that mean it’s going to be [35]? You don’t know. He has an incredible way of putting his fingerprints on a game in a lot of different areas.”

Those large fingerprints could be found mostly on the throat of Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs’ would-be defender, who fouled out almost helplessly in 31½ minutes.

In Leonard’s defense, what there was of it, there is virtually nothing anyone can do when the bullish, powerful James is making his outside shot. It was just a year ago in The Finals when the Spurs pretty much set up their entire strategy to do anything to keep him out of the lane and hoped that James would not catch fire from the outside.

But going back to Game 7 of last year’s Finals, when James erupted for 37 points in the clincher, he has made 21 of his last 41 (51 percent) shots from the perimeter. Which might mean that if you’re the Spurs, all you can say is: “Uh-oh.”

Of course, the NBA’s biggest stage has seen such star turns in the big spotlight before, mostly from the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, whose championship jewelry collections James is trying to match. Yet in both of those cases, it usually was Jordan or Bryant always yearning to take that final bow.

So here was another game on the line, Spurs up 93-92, and there was James sucking in the defense to him and zipping a pass to Chris Bosh, standing all alone in the right corner, who nailed the decisive 3.

It was the same play and the same pass that James made at the end of Game 5 in the Eastern Conference finals at Indiana, only Bosh missed the shot and the Heat lost the game. The same pass that got him criticized when the shot missed in the semifinals against the Nets. In fact, it was almost the identical pass that he was making as far back as his Cavaliers days in Game 1 of the 2007 Eastern Conference finals at Detroit when he drove the lane and dished to Donyell Marshall, who also missed.

“He’s the most unselfish player I’ve ever played with,” Bosh said. “Especially with the talent that he has playing the game, the way he plays the game. He doesn’t, you know, try to force anything.

“Even if he is hot, he’ll still hit you if you’re wide open. And that’s what makes this team special, because your best player is will to sacrifice a shot, a good shot, for a great shot. You have to commend him for that.”

If only. James is, as he said, the easiest target in sports and has been since he showed up as a 15-year-old on the cover of Sports Illustrated as “The Chosen One.” It is the image and the life where we have seen far too much of sausage being made, that gets his guts and his character questioned because his ridiculously chiseled, super hero-looking body failed him and he had to watch from the bench for the last 3:59 of Game 1 as his teammates lost.

He spent another 72 hours as the sports world’s dartboard. He woke up Sunday morning and joined three other guests at the Heat’s resort hotel in an outdoor yoga class to loosen all of those muscles and then did everything but twist the Spurs in a lotus headstand variation. In a six-minute, third-quarter burst of six straight shots — 18, 25, 19, 26, 18 and 20 feet — James simply changed the game.

“It was that easy for me in the sense of don’t overthink it,” he said.

Don’t think twice about the criticism, the derision, the outright mockery that comes with being LeBron.

Don’t think once, even with a sizzling hand in the second half, about putting the ball and the game into a teammate’s hands.

“Not at all,” James said. “For me, when the ball is in my hands, I’m going to make the right play.”

The geniuses don’t bother with long explanations. They just do it.


VIDEO: LeBron James speaks with the media after the Heat’s Game 2 win over the Spurs

24 Comments

  1. jbl says:

    pretending to be a genius will not give you another ring..you must leave miami heat too, just like what you did with cavs, find a better and stronger team for a better chance of another ring…poor king..join bobcats and perhaps, it’s your time to shine mah man!!!

  2. Kimmylovesthethunder says:

    Lebron James is so great, he will have his own basketball hall of fame. He is definitely not a selfish player. Stop hating people, he really is all that. And I’m not a Heat fan either.

  3. JM says:

    People should never compare MJ to LeBron. James is an upgraded version of either Larry Bird or Magic Johnson.

  4. Titus says:

    Unselfish, believes in his teamates…Magic like but in the mode of MJ and Kobe!

  5. rlj says:

    he is the greatest of his era

  6. bballjunkie1 says:

    His body of work is just begining. I just hope he gets away from Spo, or at least at contract time have input on roster because his body will fail him at the rate he is playing. There was no reason to not be number 1 eastern conference this year. So many nights theyd be up 15, 20 points only to have lebron have to play like its the playoffs every night. For some of these teams it is there own playoff everybody wants to beat the champs. Never been sold on Spo, he’s been learning on the job. Ive always said if Lebron had a coach like Pop, Phil, Hollins, Doc to name a few he would have won one in Cleveland and certanly would have beaten Dallas. This guy is special. A total team player.

  7. Wanda Caruthers says:

    Non of Jordan or Kobes’ teammates enjoyed playing with them despite their championships. By the time Lebron leaves the NBA he will be the most gifted unselfish & humble player in history on and off the court.

  8. Sauphen says:

    What do you mean? What sense do you make? Do you really understand the game? Did you hear what Coach Pa said? I repeat” Miami have talents. We have to try to beat them collectively”. Secondly he said ” our only hope is for Lebron to play poorly” This means Spurs surrenders. Let’s talk Basketball.

  9. M Wilby says:

    John.
    your comments are very short-sited .
    Are you implying preference to excellence in any particular talent? He would of course be a genious if he was the best theoretical physicist in the world, right?

    LeBron clearly uses zero intelect while playing basketball.. everybody can simply play like him because its just a childs game.

    • TMac says:

      Can you play like him? Lol probably not. If everybody could play like a Lebron James or a Michael Jordan do you think everybody would still be working at their white collar and blue collar jobs? Hell no…..they would be making millions playing basketball. I actually think if he said somebody other than Lebron James was a genius, you wouldn’t have made your comment, would you? I like how you called basketball a child’s game….but you take the time to watch it and comment on it lol.

    • Titus says:

      Actually you are the one using zero intellect with your comments…anybody can play like Lebron…Lmbo!!!!

  10. esc says:

    What a disgrace that America cannot and will not EVER embrace LeBron James as an NBA player, or a man. It is unfortunate that their brain cells have been fried so severely that ther hatred has escalated to bigotry. If it does not apply, then let it fly…

  11. Vincent Herring says:

    LeBron does not play “me ball”. Kobe is the worst and Jordan was just as bad… but when Phil Jackson came along he basically asked both to GIVE up the ball. He coached as hard as possible to make both Kobe and MJ try to play more like LeBron. In the case of Kobe, Phil made the mistake of saying “can you play more like Lebron”. But that is what it takes. Jordan was 1 – 9 in playoff games before Phil Jackson took over. What did Phil Jackson do…. He got Jordon to give up the ball . Trust John Paxton and your other team mate. Playing in the style made MJ the most feared ball player on the planet . If he kept scoring 63 (in playoffs vsBoston) he would never win!

  12. Ed says:

    Well that is why LBJ is better than than MJ or KB, coz LBJ has it all. LBJ is the ultimate player and the complete player in NBA.

  13. Seck says:

    james si the best player ever player this game for ever batter Thank MJ KOB and whoever player this game because he si the more complete player in the whole word ( rebounding, asist, shooting, dunking, using his boby, intelligent,spectecular.)
    Please add something else cause i am sure thai the re sia something i forge t to’ add to’ the list

  14. curmudgeon says:

    MJ and Kobe, and particularly MJ, did make their teammates better. But not at Lebron’s level, which is simply beyond belief. the best thing about him, though, is personal. over the last few years he has transformed himself, turned into a really good and humble, as much as possible considering his talent, person. he’s the kind of guy you’d love to know….

  15. Lucas Plb says:

    james is the best

  16. drago says:

    It’s all about Lebron hese days,this series is going to end in 6 for Miami.I still think this team is a Frankenstein monster and not a real made team like San Antonio or OKC so it’s not enjoyable to watch them dominate it does not feel like sportmanship.He can enjoy his titles they are earned but since he is not wining them with Cleveland it does not feel as big as it should be.At least for me.

    • Sauphen says:

      What do you mean? What sense do you make? Do you really understand the game? Did you hear what Coach Pa said? I repeat” Miami have talents. We have to try to beat them collectively”. Secondly he said ” our only hope is for Lebron to play poorly” This means Spurs surrenders. Let’s talk Basketball.

    • LearnTheGame says:

      That’s just ridiculous. Look at all those players Jordan won with and all the ones Kobe won with and ask yourself how many of them were drafted by that team. That’s the dumbest ish I’ve heard. People need to understand Jordan had Phil. Kobe had Phil. Last time I checked Phil has 13 final appearances 11 rings. think of all the players that came from other teams. cartwright, kerr, harper, rodman, kukoc, all key players. Kobe had, shaq, rick fox, horry, pau gasol, lamar odom, Horace grant etc… None of which drafted by the team they won but all major players. Now Bron has help and he’s been the same force MJ and KOBE was. Maybe even greater still to be determined. FOLKS LEARN THE GAME.

    • Game Time says:

      No one was calling the Lakers cheaters when they had Shaq, Kobe, Karl, Malone, Gary Payton.

  17. James says:

    MJ and Kobe might be better pure scores, but King James makes his team better and therefore the greater impact on the game.

    • alex davis says:

      Looks like Lebron borrowed a can of that “Whoop Azz”, Michael once used? “The King” beat all the Spur’s players! GO HEAT…