Why Is LeBron James So Afraid To Fail?
Did you watch the 2012 NBA All-Star Game? If so, then you probably realized two things about LeBron James. One, the guy is by far the best player in the NBA right now. With all due respect to Kevin Durant, LBJ is the only player in the league who can essentially play at least four of the five positions on the court and light up the box score in all of the major categories. And, two, despite that fact, LeBron James is really, really afraid to fail. Which is, unfortunately, why he keeps failing in the biggest moments of his career.
Now, I don’t want to look too deeply into what took place on Sunday night. It was, after all, just an All-Star Game. So there’s a good chance that in a week or two, no one will be talking about LeBron’s major gaffe. But it’s worth noting that, for the first 47 minutes of the game, Bron-Bron owned the court. Anything he wanted to do, he did. He drove to the bucket, he hit shots that looked damn-near impossible to make, he got his teammates involved, and he even showed off a little D, which is rare for an All-Star Game. But in the final minute, he made a couple of crucial mistakes that ultimately led to the Eastern Conference losing 15-148 to the Western Conference. On the second to last possession of the game for the East—with the EC down by 2—he passed up the opportunity to drive the ball to the hole or take the final shot of the game. And then, to make matters worse, he threw a terrible cross-court pass that got picked off by Blake Griffin and led to free throw attempts. It turned out to be the deciding possession in the game and it earned LeBron a puzzled look from Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, who both seemed genuinely confused about why LBJ wouldn’t take the rock himself in that situation.
So, after the game, I was left thinking just one thing: Why is LeBron James so afraid to fail? In the past, I’ve been a staunch LeBron supporter. As I said earlier, it’s clear to me that he’s the best basketball player in the NBA and, for that matter, the world. He’s Michael Jordan-esque in that he can do things that other players simply cannot do. But, at the same time, he continues to seem uncomfortable about taking the final shot during games and being the rock that his teammates can count on. He’s absolutely spectacular for the first three quarters of games and then disappears in the fourth. It’s almost as if he’d rather give the ball up at the end of the game and be criticized for doing that than miss a shot that ultimately costs his team the game. It makes it seem like he’s content with failing and is just trying to cut his losses by doing whatever it takes to limit to amount of criticism he’ll get for doing it.
My message to him: Fail. Throw up an airball at the end of a game. Try to drive to the bucket and have the ball stolen. Do something that makes us think that you at least want to be successful. It’s not always going to work. And, in fact, more often than not you’ll probably end up trying something that won’t work. But, it feels like guys like LeBron and other players his age are so scared to fail and be criticized that they don’t even try to attain greatness. For all the priase LeBron gets, he needs to learn how to fail—and fail gracefully—if he wants to go down as one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game.