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The Evolution of an NBA Star

I think one of the most interesting things in sports is the evolution of an NBA star. We have instant analysis the second games are over, players do interviews from their locker rooms, and (my least favorite) coaches do interviews in between quarters. But through it all the way we look at our superstars always front and center.

For instance would you support  this player. Started his career as an athletic guy with unbelievable gifts. People thought he was way too selfish, took to many shots, and alienated his teammates. Time and time again he choked in the clutch and looked overwhelmed with the responsibility of his immense talent. Somewhere along the way with the help of age and maturity and the right coach something clicked and this guy turned into a machine. He became a better version of himself. He won championships and was considered one of the best if not the best player in NBA history.

Now I know what you are thinking, Superman is Kobe hating again, when in actuality I was talking about Michael Jordan. Both have had similar career arcs with similar stories. Kobe won more early and dealt with his character hiccups early than MJ’s baseball fiasco. MJ suffered more early and had to learn from battling and losing. Kobe had to grow up.

While thinking about these two guys you can’t help but to think of Lebron James. Lebron is like no other player in the history of the league. He came straight out of high school to not only change his team, but the NBA. Even Kobe took a few years to get used to the NBA. Not a knock just a fact. The large knock on Lebron however is that unlike MJ and Kobe, Lebron doesn’t hit big shots when they count. Lebron all though he has been in the league 6 years he is only 24. Like both Kobe and MJ, Lebron still needs to learn this skill. Because it truly is a skill that needs to be practiced. You want to go to a guy who has experience taking and making those big shots.  The more that a person is put in this situation the better they get at it. Lebron will hopefully reach this elite level but we will have to wait and see. Until then he is still the best athlete and all around basketball player in the league, while Kobe is still the guy you would go to if you need a big jump shot in the clutch.(JC I concede this point but I still think LBJ taking the ball to the basket is a pretty good option)

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Categories: NBA
  1. February 24, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Kobe is still the best individual player in the league. However… LeBron is far and away ( ok, maybe not that far) the best teammate on the planet. If that’s what you mean by the best all-around player then I agree.

    On hitting game-winners: I believe nailing game winners is more about being able to get any (quality) shot than hitting a shot on any one occasion. When LeBron develops a “middle game”, he”ll automatically be better at finishing games because he’ll be able to create better options for himself. With Kobe there’s nothing to take away. Either you let him shoot in our face or go by you to the middle spot to pull up. If the next defender sells out to help, he’ll dime Gasol … or somebody—- just like Bird….just like Jordan.

    I don’t doubt LeBron though… he’ll get it- eventually; and much to the chagrin of the rest of the league.

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