Who is he? As my husband, John Cullum, was watching basketball, I heard the name and I noticed a big guy racing around.
I don't focus on sports the way I focus on what teenagers are doing, or stars, scandals, what's hot in fashion and show biz in general. Trends interest me, not sports.
I wrote about Lightening Bolt Usain, the record-breaking track star, because of the way he has affected poor people in his home country, Jamaica. I've blogged quite a few times about Magic Johnson -- his rebounding spirit, his joy, the ideas that come from him, and Muhammad Ali -- he's been one of my heroes for years. But Lebron ...?
Time Magazine had a big, really huge double-page photo of him. "Wow." I thought. I started reading. Browsing online sports pages, I got hooked.
Lebron James, age 28, is a great athlete not just because he's 6' 8," and an extraordinary good dribbler, passer, and shooter, but because he is freakishly fast. Sports writers cite him as a "genius athlete," "The Einstein of Basketball."
Many people say he has a photographic memory. Athletes must process multiple streams of information in real time under extreme pressure -- know where's my defender? where are my teammates' defenders? go left or right? pass or shoot?
James has already won his fourth Most Valued Player (MVP) award, ranking him with legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.
He went directly to the NBA from high school. He studies the numbers to see where other good players are on the floor -- where he has the best chance of scoring and his opponents are least effective. He's continually pushing his game to new limits. "If he stays healthy," says ESPN analyst Hubie Brown, a former NBA head coach, "he will probably go down as the greatest player to ever play."
Can I see it, recognize it, as I watch him? Yes.
Take a look. Then see him, hear what he said after losing a major game.