With the game ball in his hands, LeBron James attracted the opponents’ marking and sent Cam Reddish into action, who, free in the dead zone, made a mistake. The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Miami Heat last month, and once again the star heard the usual criticism that he doesn’t have the killer instinct of a Kobe Bryant, a Michael Jordan, after all he passed, he didn’t shoot.
Reddish received words of encouragement from LeBron. Last Saturday (9), he also received a new opportunity to decide and hit the most important ball in the victory over the Indiana Pacers, in the final of the inaugural In-Season Tournament, a championship within the championship created by the NBA to generate interest in the early part of the calendar. of the North American Basketball League.
It’s not James’s greatest glory, four times in the dispute that really counts. But, approaching his 39th birthday, he is champion again. In his 21st season in the NBA, he has presented unprecedented performance in the history of the sport for someone with his experience. And always in his own way, passing the ball.
“I make the right play every time.”
The book “LeBron”, recently released in Brazil by Objetiva, details the winger’s path to this thought. “And everything leads to Akron, Ohio”, summarized to Folha the American Jeff Benedict, (unauthorized) biographer of the man who, despite his desire to pass the ball, is the greatest scorer in the history of the NBA.
“He was always able to score however he wanted,” Benedict noted. “But even before high school, he learned the value of distributing the ball to teammates who aren’t as good as him, that is, basically everyone. He realized that he could raise his teammates’ level by distributing the game and giving them the opportunity to to score, sometimes with ease. It’s an incredible lesson, a lesson in maturity to learn as a teenager. A lot of professional players haven’t realized that yet.”
This lesson was passed on by Dru Joyce II, the most influential coach in James’ development. “Bron, if you pass the ball, everyone will want to play with you,” the coach said. Called Coach Dru, he “took advantage of LeBron’s hunger for friendship and acceptance,” Benedict recounts in his book. “What LeBron wanted with all his might was to be wanted.”
It is at this point that the biography, critically acclaimed in the United States, proves to be particularly revealing. Not because it presents bombastic and unprecedented information – the author made the decision not to try to discover the identity of the star’s father, who remains a mystery to this day. But by drawing in a clear and detailed way how James’s personality was formed.
Again, it all leads to Akron, Ohio, where Gloria gave birth to LeBron Raymone James and became a mother at 16. She was a poor teenager, with her problems, despite which her son is extremely grateful to her. When she released a memoir about her time in high school, the player wrote the following dedication: “To my mother, without whom I wouldn’t be here today.”
The biography signed by Benedict has its densest content in the second chapter, “Glo and Bron”. Little LeBron was often alone, sometimes for nights at a time.
“Praying that his mother would return soon, the boy finally fell asleep, until he was awakened by sounds he was familiar with. Men screaming. A woman begging. Gunshots. People running. Sirens. Doors slamming. More screaming. More sirens. The boy didn’t need a fertile imagination to visualize the danger around him. On many occasions he had already seen things that no child should see.”
It was his impressive athletic ability that gave James the opportunity to leave this scenario, attracting attention initially in American football, then in basketball. To the point that a coach, Frank Walker, invited him to live with his family. A structured family, with rules and duties. And company.
Gloria, with pain in her heart, said yes. And the boy loved it.
“LeBron had an incredibly unstable environment when he was little. He and his mother moved from place to place, slept on other people’s couches,” Benedict said. “And as a byproduct of having an exceptional athletic gift, he was introduced to some very good men in the community who were involved in sports. He was lucky, because youth coaches are not necessarily great examples of good fathers, good husbands.”
Frank Walker, Big Frankie, was. Coach Dru, in whose house James spent more and more time, did too. The boy saw himself in one of his favorite series, “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (in Brazil, “Um Maluco no Pedaço”), finally included within what was considered a good family structure.
No word is as important in LeBron’s lexicon as “confidence.” It helps explain why her inner circle is so tight, made up of high school friends who are also her main business partners. Because she is still with Savannah, his girlfriend since she was 16. Because he is suspicious of journalists, especially for reports that portrayed his mother in an insensitive way.
It also explains why he continues to pass the ball to Cam Reddish. Why, in his 21st season, he appears as a real candidate for the NBA’s best player award. Because he is grateful to Gloria, even for the painful gesture of handing him over to another family.
“Everything leads to Akron, Ohio.”