Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:31 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 1:16 pm
 

Mike Brown says relationship with Lebron 'fine'

By Matt Moore

Coaches have to put up with a world of grief. Player egos, rookie mistakes, blown coverage, the media, P.R. engagements, travel, family, all of it at the same time. There's a reason they're paid what they are.

Mike Brown has to deal with more than his fair share. He was LeBron James'coach in Cleveland and failed to win a title. Everyone has their opinion on whether that was the fault of LeBron, Danny Ferry's general management, or Brown's coaching. And since then there have been a ton of rumors about the reason Brown was fired, the relationship between James and Brown, and how the entire situation was structured, how much leeway James had exactly. 

In an interview on Cleveland sports radio, Brown spoke about his relationship with LeBron. They apparently talked after everything went down in the summer of 2010, but haven't spoken much since then. And Brown describes the relationship as "fine." From Sports Radio Interviews:  
The perception was that somehow you and LeBron James didn’t get along. Talk about your relationship with LeBron James while you were here.  What was your relationship after you were let go and LeBron James made his decision? Have you talked since? How is your relationship with him today?

“We have been in contact after I had gotten let go. We had texted each other a few times. We emailed each other a few times. Now we haven’t talked in…I don’t know six, seven, eight months maybe? We haven’t communicate via text or email in awhile, but when I had gotten let go, probably within the next six-to-eight months after that we had been in contact a few times with each other. Our relationship was fine. It was a player/coach relationship probably a little bit more than that, but it was fine. There was not a time at all where he was dismissive of me or he didn’t do what I had asked him to do or anything like that. I thought we had a great working relationship.

I thought we had a lot of success. I understand the business. I understand how speculation and rumors float about and it’s something as you guys know it is what it is. There’s no need for me to fight it. I just let it go and as long as I am okay with the person I’m dealing with? It is kind of similar to here. Everybody was saying that Kobe [Bryant] has not approved of me or whatever. You hearing all this type of speculation. People don’t know Kobe and I? We had been in contact quite a bit before we even met face-to-face. We had been in contact via text and via phone, so he even asked me if he had to come out and say something publicly? I told him no. I said: ‘Hey I know I am good with you and you are good with me and that’s all I need.’ People can speculate because it is part of the business and I accept it.”
via Sports Radio Interviews » Blog Archive » Mike Brown doesn’t fault Dan Gilbert for letting him go in Cleveland, proclaims his relationship with LeBron James is ‘fine.’.

Brown's not going to say anything if his relationship was soured with Lebron, and given James' actions and general demeanor, it's difficult to see him ever having a strong relationship with a coach. 

But Brown clearly wants to move past it. He's with L.A. now, they're winning, and he does have the experience to handle the situation with Kobe Bryant as well as anyone outside of Phil Jackson. Brown's constantly under heavy shadows. LeBron James, Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant. But as time goes on, at least he can move away from Cleveland what has turned out to be an absolute disaster for all involved.

We like to think that all sports relationships are polar. They hate each other or they love each other. They got along great and had a close relationship or they were completely dysfunctional. But like most relationships in life, things are more complicated. It's not black and white, and it's not easy.

Maybe, after all that, "fine" is as good as it's going to get.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:25 am
Edited on: January 14, 2012 1:31 am
 

LeBron James listens to Rick Ross' Tim Tebow rap

Posted by Ben Golliver

LeBron James not only relates to Tim Tebow, he turns to rap songs about him for inspiration.

During a Thursday night game between the Miami Heat and the Denve Nuggets, an ESPN broadcast revealed that James listened to a Rick Ross rap song about the Denver Broncos star quarterback before the game for inspiration.

The song included the following lyrics, according to the broadcast, and James was reportedly rapping these words out loud.

"Thought I wouldn't make it, now I'm winning -- Timothy Tebow / 
Fourth quarter I'm back, fourth quarter in fact /
Fourth quarter, that's that."

The song is titled, "F*** em."

Earlier Friday, James told the Palm Beach Post that he relates to Tebow because they both face intense scrutiny. 
"He's one of the most intriguing, competitive athletes that we have today," James said. "He's all about winning, and he praises everybody but himself. He's a very humble guy, and I respect that, all the way back from when I watched him when he was coming off the bench at Florida behind Chris Leak, all the way to him winning the Heisman, winning the national championship, to now starting for the Broncos."

"You know, I'm one of those guys who has been in those shoes before, as well," James said. "Still in that boat, where a lot of people doubt you, and you've just got to try to prove them wrong. So I understood a lot of what he's going through, what he went through, and it's good to see him have success now. You want to see greatness, you always want to see guys succeed. Especially when people count you out from Day 1. That's what I love about him. I always tweet about him. He's always great to watch. I try to catch all the Broncos games when I can, if my Cowboys are not playing."
Tebow is already developing a reputation for his fourth quarter comebacks. James, though, is still trying to shake the label that his best performances don't come in the clutch. Earlier this week, he struggled down the stretch of an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, missing multiple free throws and committing a costly foul.

Here's the video report of LeBron James listening to a Rick Ross rap about Tim Tebow.


Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 5:45 pm
 

NBA: Referees blew LeBron James travel no-call

Posted by Ben Golliver lebron-james-travel

Sorry, LeBron James. You melted down in the clutch during an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, and you broke the rules while doing it.

The NBA announced on Thursday -- using @NBAOfficial, a new Twitter account dedicated to clarifying controversial refereeing decisions -- that James violated the league's traveling rules on a key late-game play.

"Yes, LeBron should have been called for traveling on this play last night," the NBA's statement read.

The play in question occurred during the final 10 seconds of regulation with the Heat looking to draw even with the Clippers. James drove to his left past Clippers forward Caron Butler, appeared to execute a jump stop, and then spun into a turnaround jump shot, which was interrupted by a bump from Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Jordan was whistled for a foul on the play.

HardwoodParoxysm.com studied the tape and noted that James did not properly execute the jump shot because he did not land with both feet simultaneously and that he slid his pivot foot as he moved to attempt the shot.

The traveling infraction, which was not called by the refereeing crew of Ron Garretson, Eric Dalen and Derek Richardson, occurred prior to Jordan's foul of James, which sent the Heat's All-Star forward to the free-throw line, which eventually led to overtime.

Despite some obvious frustration at the officiating, all was well that ended well for Los Angeles. The Clippers went on to defeat the Heat, 95-89, in overtime.

James finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 6 turnovers on 7-for-19 shooting. James missed eight free throws on the night, including three in the final 1:21 of regulation.

Here's video of the play in which the NBA publicly admitted that LeBron James traveled, courtesy of HardwoodParoxysm.com.

Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Dwight Howard leads first All-Star ballot returns

Posted by Royce Young

The first All-Star ballot returns are out and leading the entire league in votes is Dwight Howard with 754,737 votes with Kobe Bryant second with 690,613. Second in the East is LeBron James (640,789) and in the West Kevin Durant (633,538).

If the voting ended today, the East's starting five would be Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron, Carmelo Anthony and Howard. In the West it would be Chris Paul, Kobe, Durant, Blake Griffin and Andrew Bynum.

And looking over the vote totals, those starting lineups seem to be a bit set in stone, barring injury. Nobody is really all that close to catching anyone (Dirk is closest behind Griffin, and he's more than 100,000 votes back).

So, are the fans getting it right so far? Kind of looks like they are, quite honestly. Can't argue with the West too much. The one quibble I'd have is that Kevin Love has been absolutely killing it in Minnesota so far this season averaging 25-15, but he's not part of Lob City, so it's hard to see him ever topping Griffin. Same goes for LaMarcus Aldridge, who is off to a fantastic start. I'd also like to mention that Kyle Lowry has gotten off to a terrific start this season, but it's not good enough to top Paul.

In the East, there's really nothing to change. Melo isn't really a power forward, but you can fudge the All-Star rosters a bit. Rajon Rondo isn't playing better than Rose, there's no better 2 in the East than Wade and of course LeBron and Howard are the best at their positions in the entire league.

If the voting holds like this -- and it should -- we'll have a pretty accurate representation of the best in each league to start the All-Star Game. Again, I'd go with Love over Griffin, but that's not a sure thing case to make at this point. And it's not going to change anyway.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:45 pm
 

Bosh picks Wade over LeBron for last second shot

Posted by Royce Young



People have made a big stink about the Heat for a lot of different reasons, but one thing people really like to hone in on is the so-called "closer" talk. Who takes the last shot in a close game? Who closes out opponents, LeBron or Dwyane Wade? The team has played more than 100 games together now and it's become pretty obvious in that time -- it's Wade's time, not LeBron.

Nobody has necessarily declared that, but more just it's been the plan of action in close games. Well, now Chris Bosh has actually said what we all already know. Via GQ:

GQ: Quick hypothetical, toes aside: Let’s say the game was tied. 10 seconds left. You had 30 points, LeBron’s got 30, and Wade’s got 30. You got the same amount of rebounds, same amount of assists—having the same great game. Who takes the shot at the end to either win or lose the game.
Chris Bosh: [immediately] Dwyane.

GQ: Why?
Chris Bosh: Because of his success in the past, given what he’s done. He’s a champ. He’s an MVP, and he’s hit a bunch of last-second shots. That’s the time you have to put pride aside a little bit, and do what’s best for the team. He’s quickest, and he’s gonna get a shot off. He relishes those moments.

That sounds like something we should all make a big deal about, but here's the thing: I bet LeBron would agree with that. It's kind of the life he signed up for when he went to Wade's team. That doesn't mean LeBron won't ever have his opportunity, but unlike the situations for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose or Dirk Nowitzki, it's not a given that LeBron gets that look. Even his own teammates say so, without hesitating.

Wednesday against the Clippers though, Wade played decoy and passed to LeBron at the end of regulation (LeBron was fouled and missed a big free throw). So they do interchange a bit.

But here we all are, mostly agreeing that LeBron James is the best player in the league and yet his own team doesn't want him taking the big shot. Isn't there something wrong with that? Does that say more about Wade, or does that say more about LeBron? Does Bosh, and the Heat, not trust LeBron or do they just believe in Wade that much?

Obviously Bosh isn't intending to take a dig at LeBron, but it's hard not to see it as that. He's saying Wade "relishes" those big moments which indicates that LeBron really doesn't. And there's proof of it: In Cleveland, where LeBron was The Man, he routinely passed to an open Daniel Gibson or Larry Hughes in the corner rather than taking things into his own hands. It's the player he is. He prefers to defer than dominate. It's his curse and his gift.

At this point though with the way the Heat are playing late in games, maybe he should've said Mario Chalmers.

Via TBJ
Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:52 pm
 

Mike Brown: A 'different feel' to Kobe and LeBron

Posted by Royce Young

Mike Brown has been a pretty fortunate head coach. Sure, he got fired from his last gig, but he's coached teams that featured LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. So basically, he was set up to do well.

But he's also one of the few people that actually have a good perspective on the differences between the two superstars. Brown coached LeBron for multiple seasons in Cleveland, but Kobe just a handful of games in Los Angeles. Still, he has had a unique look at both players. His early conclusion: They're different. Via the O.C. Register:

"There's just a different feel to the two guys," Brown said.

It was clear from what Brown suggested that there's a harder edge to Bryant (and even James' contemporaries Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant) that James still lacks.

"LeBron is a guy who is still learning and still growing, and the reality of it is that being down there with Dwyane Wade has helped him," Brown said. "They're different personalities. LeBron, he's a guy who likes to laugh and joke. He knows obviously there's a time to be serious, but he's youthful.

"Kobe is not as much. Kobe's more serious-minded and so on and so forth. But Kobe knows how to have fun in his own way, too."

It's very easy to read into those comments and make something out of them. But even from just the outside perspective, that's the truth. LeBron has talked about having fun and trying to make basketball a game first. Kobe approaches it like it's his only sustinance and if he doesn't win, he'll die. Maybe that's a difference between the two in terms of Kobe having multiple titles and LeBron having failed twice. Maybe not.

There are things that separate players. Mental makeup, competitive drive, insanity, anger -- whatever. Kobe Bryant is a different animal when it comes to basketball. It makes him a joy to watch and a pain to watch. LeBron is a freak of nature but obviously doesn't have the same mindset as Kobe when it comes to the game. Kobe has no fear of taking 35 shots in a game and then standing in front of the press saying, "Yeah, so what?" after the game. LeBron almost plays to please everyone. Not in a sense that he doesn't have the backbone, but he prefers to play more team ball than take over. It's the best and worst thing about him.

I don't know if you can take Brown's comments as something that says LeBron needs to grow up, but there is something to be said for having fun and something to be said for making basketball life or death. There are things much more important in life than a game, but at the same time, that's sometimes what makes the great ones great. It means everything to them. It almost means too much. There's no time to have fun on the basketball court, only time to win.

But like Brown said, LeBron is young and still has a lot of time to figure things out. Kobe is in an entirely different place career-wise. And it's not like LeBron wouldn't give everything to win. He just wants to have fun while doing it. Nothing really all that wrong with that. People are different, players are different.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:59 am
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:04 am
 

Theory and Proof: LeBron blows it again



By Matt Moore


Los Angeles 95 Miami 89

Theory: LeBron James cost the Heat a winnable game on the road against a playoff team by missing free throws. 

Proof: Eventually you reach a point where these things cross the line of believablility. One missed clutch free throw by an 80 percent free throw shooter, one of the best basketball players on the planet, OK. Sure. Weird, but it happens.

But the sheer volume of missed free throws from LeBron James against the Clippers on Wednesday is purely staggering.

And more so, James was clearly, visibly shook by the misses. He didn't settle for long jumpers, though he did brick a face-up J with Billups defending him in the fourth. He did what everyone asks. He posted, he drove, he got to the rim, and he drew the foul.

And he bricked. Over and over and over again.

It was comical. It was absurd. Some people will say they aren't surprised, that James has already shown himself to be that kind of player. But there's a reason so many people react the way they do. There's a reason James is regarded in such lofty compliments. He really is that good... provided it's not a crucial game since the Eastern Conference Finals ended last June.

The Heat missed 14 free throws against the Clippers. Hit half of those misses, they win the game. Any better than that and it's a walk. The game never goes to OT. The Heat absolutely melted down on multiple levels. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were equally as terrible in the fourth quarter and overtime as James. But it was James who had the opportunity, yet again, to step up and lead, to end it, to be the player that gets it done.

And again, he failed. Shrunk. Choked. Whatever cliche you want to rip out there. He finished 9-17 from the line. Eight missed chances, any pair of which in regulation would have ended it. Torching LeBron for his late game failures has become more boring and drawn out than players complaining about calls (which there was also a lot of in this game, and rightfully so). And yet it's based in reality. No one remembers him crushing the Celtics down the stretch in a dominant series. No one remembers him erasing the MVP Derrick Rose. And rightfully so. These performances aren't just questionable or soft. They're bad. He's played badly.

And Wednesday night, those failures cost the Heat a game they should have won.

It's not even funny at this point, but that's hard to tell over the sound of the world's laughter.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:55 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 8:58 pm
 

LeBron James: New master of the post-up game



By Matt Moore

Let's pretend for a minute that LeBron James isn't LeBron James. Let's take away his massive ego which has risen up and taken control of his cerebral cortex more than once a week over the past two years. Let's take away the polarizing nature of "The Decision" and the epic failures in the fourth quarter during the Finals (after Game 3). Let's remove him teaming up with too much talent, from premature talk of his greatness, from all the things that make us recognize LeBron James as the professional athlete or media entity we associate him with. Let's pretend, just for a moment, that he's just another basketball player. 

If we assume for a minute that we want all players to reach their potential, because that makes for the most entertaining games possible, even if fans hope for their particular team's best to be better than everyone else's best, then there's something to be noted about James this year. He's doing it. Particularly in the biggest area of criticism for him, outside of clutch play. 

For years, people have marveled at James' athleticism. To put it simply, the dude's a truck that moves like a jackrabbit. He's got so much power and speed packed into that 285 lb. (a rough number, he drifts between 295 and 260 and protects the number like his bank account) frame, but there's the hitch. He has never really exerted it in the post. He's bigger than any 3 that can guard him, faster than any 4. So why not just pound guys into oblivion in the post instead of drifting into those pull-up perimeter shots?

I've long thought that James' fascination with Michael Jordan had a lot to do with it. After all, kids of LeBron's generation didn't grow up emulating Kareem's sky hook or even the Dream Shake. They idolized "The Shot,'" worshipped Jordan's turnaround jumper, the push-off jumper against the Jazz. His game always seemed to take on the impression of trying to conform to what we think of as a star scorer. "Rise and fire" as it were.

But that's changing. As ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst noted Tuesday:  
Meanwhile, Spoelstra is growing a little fatigued of answering questions about James’ post game. He knows quite well that James posted up on seven percent of his offensive plays last season and now it is more than 15 percent. He knows that James is shooting 65 percent on those post plays, the best in the NBA so far. He also knows has that James averages 1.219 points per play from the post, another in-depth stat that Spoelstra specializes in.

Those stats and the ones fans are much more familiar with – like James’ 30.1 point scoring average and his 60 percent shooting percentage – say the obvious: keep doing it. They are a major reason the Heat are 8-1 and looking like a juggernaut offensive team.

Still the James in the post talk is what the coach calls “a storyline,” an easy idea for the media to ask and write about. In a new city, the questions about it are coming and Spoelstra answers them without much feeling behind it.

“It’s making us much more dynamic and efficient,” Spoelstra said. “We’re able to do it in different ways. Not just the post. People want to compartmentalize what we’re doing. There’s actually been a lot of tweaks.”
via LeBron's transformation into an inside man - Heat Index Blog - ESPN.

And that's definitely true. From the wide-open, Oregon Ducks-influenced changes in transition to the alterations to Chris Bosh's approach, to what Mario Chalmers is doing on and off ball, the Heat are a wildly different team. And yet the changes to James can be most impactful. In the post, there is no one that can guard him one-on-one. When single covered, James is unstoppable, scoring 68 percent of the time. But there is still a weakness. When doubled, James has turned the ball over 20 percent of the time. It's still a tiny sample in this young season, but at least it shows there is a weakness. 

More to the point than numbers and figures, however, is the philosophical change this demonstrates in James and what it means. Players are defensive of their game. After all, it's their craft. They have dedicated their lives to it and no one wants to have their job performance ripped apart, most often times by people who could never replicate it. There's a pride that goes with it. Consider for a moment, Kobe Bryant's comments to Yahoo Sports this week about how he will not be changing his game, despite struggles with his shot before this week's 3-game hot streak as well as continuing issues with turnovers while dominating the field goal attempts of the Lakers
“I shoot, I shoot,” Bryant said. “You’ve known that for 16 years. I’m not changing my game. If the defense is not doubling, I’m going to score. If I’ve got a good look, I’m going to score. My teammates know that. But I also give them the ball, too, and set them up.

“But at the end of the day, I’m a scorer first.”
via Kobe sees few cracks in championship foundation - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Now, it should be noted that Bryant has radically altered his game throughout the years, adapting a face-up game and then becoming one of the deadliest post players in the league. But these adjustments were largely extensions of his pre-existing skill-set. Turnaround-jumper, off-hand layup, driving dunk. What James is faced with is a need to become more than what he's been. And what he's been has been an MVP caliber player. So from that perspective it's easy to see why he may have resisted change. But alongside his work in the post, James has done much more in transition. His decisions are quicker when he's running point. He has arguably the widest skillset of any player in the league, but for the first time, he's putting all of them to use.

This could fade away. James could suffer a serious injury and return to pull-up threes and tentative jump-passes. But the work in the post stands for more than just the changes the Heat have made to their offense. It represents an extension of James' self-awareness and exploration of his own game, and hints at the possibility of him becoming the player he was so undeservedly crowned to be so early in his career. If it was any other player, you'd want to pull for that, you'd want to urge him to keep it up.

But then to take that blind approach is to ignore elements as plain as the nose on his face, a transgression as blatant as James' own avoidance of the post game.

James has to change his game before people change their minds.
 
 
 
 
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