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Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 at 9:30 am  |  35 responses

LeBron James: ‘This is a No-Excuse Season for Me’


This week’s issue of SI features a terrific piece on LeBron James as he edges towards a third MVP award, and yet another pressure-packed trip to the Playoffs. Here’s an excerpt: “Tranquil moments are few in the chaotic life of LeBron James. He steals them when he can, sitting on his patio in Coconut Grove, Fla., and admiring the waves on Biscayne Bay, biking across Rickenbacker Causeway with friends to Key Biscayne, watching basketball on television and flipping the channel when the announcers utter his name. Forward Shane Battier, in his first year with Miami, sounds as if he could lead a seminar at Duke deconstructing the James phenomenon. ‘He is a global icon, a basket-ball monolith, the most prevalent and recognizable athlete of our generation,’ says Battier. ‘And he’s one of a kind, because he’s the first to rise to prominence in the Information Age, which is why he’s such a fascinating sociological observation. He’s accountable every single day for every single thing, from how he plays to what he tweets to what he says in the pre- and the postgame interviews. He has a camera and a microphone on him wherever he goes, and then when he [goes out to] dinner, there’s a camera phone on him. This is what he signed up for. There is a price to pay. He understands that. But I don’t think a lot of guys could handle it.’ James isn’t just coping, he is completing one of the finest all-around seasons in the NBA’s modern era. At week’s end he was averaging 27.1 points with 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists while shooting 53.1 percent. Larry Bird never shot 53.1 percent. His player efficiency rating of 30.6 leads the league by more than four points, and he is holding opposing small forwards to an anemic efficiency rating of 10.4, according to 82games.com. The 6-foot-8 James is the Heat’s best ball handler, passer and post scorer, but he also covers everyone from point guards to centers, sometimes in the same game. ‘We are asking him to play at an MVP level,’ says coach Erik Spoelstra, ‘and at a Defensive Player of the Year level.’ James is attempting fewer three-pointers than ever while making them at a higher clip (36.2 percent). He is grabbing more rebounds in part because he is spending more time inside. His game log is a litany of near triple doubles. The NBA has not witnessed such a balanced and prolific individual assault since Michael Jordan in 1988–89, two years before his first title. Of course, James did not move to Miami and incur a nation’s wrath so he could enhance his efficiency rating. He went for rings, presumably fistfuls of them. ‘No, not a fistful,’ James says. ‘I don’t need a fistful. But I need one. I need to get one first. I have short goals — to get better every day, to help my teammates every day — but my only ultimate goal is to win an NBA championship. It’s all that matters. I dream about it. I dream about it all the time, how it would look, how it would feel. It would be so amazing.’ As the 27-year-old James leans forward in the booth, the playoffs are two weeks away and still he is logging 35 minutes a night, even though it’s clear the Heat will likely be the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and many of his peers are resting. ‘It’s my choice,’ James says. ‘I’m looking for opportunities to get better, and if I sit out, I can’t get better. This is a no-excuse season for me. I’ve put everything into this season.’”

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  • hushabomb

    We got this as proof when you lose in the finals again.

  • Dungeon Family

    Knicks is gonna Give Heat a hell of alot of trouble in the 1st Round

    If Melo Keep Playing out his mind and The Outside shooters can make shots

    If Amare show more Hangtime than them Braids in his head

    They really can give Miami trouble

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    . . . Proof that Lebron is hungry to succeed?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    One of the best articles I’ve read on Lebron in many years. Props to Lee Jenkins.

  • TreShiQ

    I just don’t see anybody else taking the championship this year. LeBron is having a HECK of a season, I know he thought winning was as easy as leaving to play with the best, but it isn’t. He’s having a MASSIVE season, and he only has himself to beat. that’s it. and well played trying to avoid BOS in the 1st and 2nd rd. They didn’t want none of that…b/c if they don’t tire you out they could easily suprise the mess out of you and you end up at home. it could happen.

  • Rik Smits Mullet

    Cosign Dagger.
    Amazing article.

    As a lbj fan i hope he sticks to this. Go bezerk till there is a championship ring on your finger Lebron.

  • http://www.borntocompete.com Money$hot

    Maybe a no excuse season for Lebron, but to bad it is not a one player sport and the Heat have an sorry excuse for a bench.

  • Ash

    Miami has tough road ahead of them I can see them losing to knicks. Knicks has a good bench and Amare is back. Lebron has to play out of his mind. Good luck tho. I hope he wins it all this year.

  • http://Slamonline.com Datkid

    The heat have trouble with the Knicks? You’re out of your mind.

  • http://Slamonline.com Datkid

    The heat have trouble with the Knicks? You’re out of your mind.

  • LA Huey

    That was a great article. I was encouraged seeing him say “I need to get one first.” Can’t create a dynasty without conquering the kingdom first.

  • Mark

    Its not necessary, that miami plays the knicks. philly and ny have identical records and there are two games left for each. although, i would definitely be more comfortable with miami playing philly.

  • neaorin

    Shane Battier is one smart man.

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    Illuminati predicts that Kobe shall win his 6th ring at the expense of Lebron. Illuminati predicts haters come out of the wood work. Eddie, 2016.

  • 23

    i think wade needs to ride in the backseat with bosh honestly. let lebron lead this team. lebron is no good at sharing leadership. he needs to grab the wheel and keep his foot on the gas!

  • LA Huey

    Doesn’t matter if the Heat play the Knicks. Heat will finish whomever they play in the 1st round in 5 games.

  • MUBWAR

    you guys know that the knicks are 0-3 against the heat this season right. they’ll be lucky to win a single game

  • thare

    EVEN YOURE MONEY!!!!!!?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Last year was?

  • LA Huey

    JTaylor, last year you could kind of say “Well, it’s his first year in the NBA playing with another legit All-Star. Ilgauskas his only familiar teammate. New coach. New city. Unprecendented scruntiny (even for someone of his stature). Blah, blah, blah…” This year, you can’t say any of that.

  • DreDay

    Good Luck LBJ and Co.
    Go Bulls!!

  • James Aka…

    Its all mental with him. He has every physical gift, he just needs to have enough confidence, killer instinct and interest. He doesn’t underchieve like Vince Carter does. He’s more like David Robinson: Undeniable talent, works hard on his game and his body, seems to shrink in some pressure situations (yet has shown he can turn it on in others). Enigmatic and shockingly talented, no matter how many rings he gets.

  • stlheatmaniac

    Last year lost altered LJ’s brain to finally create the killing machine necessary to succeed. not only has he been on complete attack mode recently but he is reaking havoc on all defenses cause he is becoming virtually unstoppable. the Heat will win the chip this season. LJ wont b stopped and he cant be stopped

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jessedogg

    @Ash that was a joke right? You can see the Heat losing to the knicks?

  • AQWORD

    Hel say what he wants & youl take it , coz it’s all about taking care of business.

  • 23

    @james, you hit it right on the nose. i actually really like that robinson-lebron comparison. its very likely that if the spurs had not drafted duncan, robinson would be added to the list of “nba greats without a ring”

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    imagine shane battier reciting his quote with a tweed jacket and pipe in hand. Then you would know why he’s awesome

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com/ O

    Sad that LeBron wasn’t this motivated to win while in Cleveland…

  • http://gmail.com z

    well said, bron. i’m rootin for ya (for the first time in your career)

  • Jay

    Get over it Lebron is a champion hes won not 1 not 2 not 3 not 4 but 5 championships.Along with 752 MVPs. He has the heart of a lion, he is better then Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant combined. Hes the greatest ever. Didnt he score 245 points in his last game. Gosh there is no matching this guys greatness.I heard the dude took on Larry Bird,Michael Jordan,Charles Barkley,Kobe Bryant,and Shaq when he was 8 years old and beat all of them by 60, and they were playing 5 on 1.Not to mention he was born in a valcano. I mean the man can literally eat skyscrapers. Just pure talent. This year is his year, this year is his year…….please Knicks in 7

  • Plumm

    Bravo Lee Jenkins, the best written article on King James since entering the league, as a huge fan of LBJ from his HS days I won’t make any predictions about a ring, we know all to well that anything can happen during the second season just ask San Antonio. All I wish for is the silencing of all his critics like Skip Bayless by attaining that coveted ring. Let’s git er dun Miami so King James can move forward as the greatest player of this generation!!

  • Ric Silvestre

    Hate him, Love him, but Lebron give everything for the fans, the leauge and to the basketball world in particular. Some people hate him because he choose MH instead of his former ball club. Almost people from CC are the one who hate him. Just try to look LBJ salary compare to other player…so he choosed MH not for the money, chasing for the ring,,at least much better teams…so be it folks..let give him the chance to prove his worth..He is playing superb basketball since before…Im not LBJ great fans but i admire the way he play the games…

  • http://www.thedynastyboys.com lix

    ESPN did a good job, but Shane Battier probably would’ve written it even better. The guy is amazingly bright. Who said Lebron wasn’t this motivated in Cleveland? All he said was he dreams about winning a chip. He never said that he didn’t dream in Cleveland. With all the talent he’s surrounded by, why wouldn’t he label it a no-excuse season? After all, he’s been in the league nearly 10 seasons.

  • Sylk

    i watch NBA because of LeBron James. idiots are those who hate someone but didn’t know why…

  • http://yahoo.com bobby

    This is Lebron’s year to win it all. I bet Miami will beat the Thunder 4-3 in the Finals. ;o

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