Not only are parts of LeBron's interview in GQ becoming public, so are the thoughts of the man who spent time with James during the circus that became Lebron's 'Decision'. What shines through are more confirmations of feelings I have had about James having watched him from afar, and having spent time in the Cavaliers locker room before and after games.
LeBron James, and many of today's great players, grew up in a different time that the greats of the past. What I call the 'AAU Mentality'. From the time these kids are in their early teens, they are grouped together onto 'Super Teams'. For the most part, they know nothing other than success. Even when LeBron went to high school, he went with 4 other friends that he had played at the club level with. He didn't join a group of kids and grow into a great high school team. He manufactured it. In essence, he went to SVSM with friends he trusted and felt he could win with.
That's not the way it goes in the NBA, and in the end, LeBron James was overcome by his NEED for that AAU feeling. To be on a team with other great players where success is a given. Why work for it when it is just handed to you?
Back to the interviews with J.R. Moehringer, who wrote the article on James. I recommend reading both, HERE and HERE, but here are a couple quotes I found telling, and confirming for my 'theories' on LeBron.
You propose in the story that LeBron might have been happiest when he was playing with his best friends, his old high school teammates, and that the Miami move was an attempt to regain that playing-with-friends sort of thing. But is it good that all those people from back in the day are still hanging around?
I think that's hard to know from a distance, but I do think that he draws obvious comfort from being surrounded by people who love him-and I don't see anything wrong with that. But as with anything, all that comfort comes at a cost, and I think that his fear of being alone keeps him at times from walking through the fire that we all have to walk through. Maybe sitting alone in a room and thinking might have helped him realize that an hour-long special devoted to his decision was ill advised. My suspicion from watching him surrounded by people wherever he goes is that he's not spending a lot of time alone in a room thinking through things.
The above was taken from a GQ interview about the article. As it states, that need for comfort comes at a cost, and LeBron is going to pay for it - personally and professionally.
It's a theme that runs through the entire article -- that LeBron can't be alone, something you write in italics at one point. Your conclusion is that LeBron chose Miami in order to replicate his high school experience. You offer a disclaimer about the dangers of becoming a pop psychologist...
This really comes across when you watch the "More Than a Game" documentary about LeBron and the Akron Fab Five. He thrives, he's happiest, he does his best when he is surrounded by friends. He just didn't feel like that was happening in Cleveland. It seems pretty clear that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh aren't just the best talent he can surround himself with, but they're a combination of talent and friends. He's looking for camaraderie. That's the formula that has worked for him -- and the only one that has worked for him. And that comes out of his early childhood when he was completely alone in the apartment he shared with his mother, not knowing his father, not knowing when or if she'd come home. It seems to me these were formative scarring moments that created this need for constant intimate contact. It came across to me watching the documentary. It came across to me reading Buzz's book. And it especially came across to me when he was introduced to the fans in Miami with Wade and Bosh by his side. He's not just looking to win. He's also looking to be happy, and he's only happy when he's surrounded by people he cares for and trusts. He's at his best when he has his brothers in arms around him and he's at his worst when he's completely alone.
This question comes from the ESPN interview. It goes right to the heart of the AAU Mentality, and speaks to why LeBron struggled with being 'The Man'. he never wanted to be The Man, not on the court, anyway. He wants to be 'The Chosen One' and 'The King' because it is good for business, but when it comes to being on the court, LeBron wants to be on a team of stars and friends. It is a personality weakness, and the reason he could never win 'alone'.
After reading everything available - the entire article, which was sent to me by GQ, and the interviews with Mr. Moehringer, it is painfully apparent behind the facade of handlers, promoters and marketers, LeBron James is a weak personality. It's sad, really, but a truth. LeBron couldn't handle the pressure or expectations.