Tuesday, August 6, 2013


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?

His  intelligence is on constant display. It's in the dunks, the fallaway  shots, the ability to smother and outsmart opponents on defense -- whiz -- there's one of his marvelous passes -- whoosh -- a  cross court fastball-flick, a shovel pass, another open shot. Experts say it's in his  embrace of basketball analytics.

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.
I like this man. There's truth in him, artistic truth that makes me truly enjoy knowing who he is and what he does.

No comments: