What Should Lebron James Do? (to Avoid Another Playoff Blowout)



Among the many images we see of the ever present individual brand that is NBA superstar Lebron James, maybe Nike’s “What Should I Do?” commercial is the most telling insight into his true personal character. A lot of people misinterpreted it’s meaning.

And maybe I’m reading it incorrectly as well, but what I see is a young superstar who might be less sure of himself than we would normally expect an iconic multi-millionaire/master of the sports universe to be. I don’t think James lacks self-assurance; but he might not be as psychologically ready to shoulder the enormous burdens and gigantic expectations placed upon him.

And in James’ media appearance Monday, one could easily read some uneasiness into his non-verbal communication. Of course, that could simply be because he knows how badly he (and his Miami Heat teammates) were out-played by Luol Deng (and the Chicago Bulls).

By Paul M. Banks

LeBron James Heat

So maybe the lack of displayed bravado was just because of one bad game, not some kind of existential doubt. Or maybe the issues are related. Either way, it’s still just one subpar performance.

“That’s why this is a series.  You see the mistakes we made in Game 1, the things that we can control, and you come out with a better mindset and try to get Game 2,” James said.

And it doesn’t matter whether you lose a close one or you get blown out? Lebron had some answers for the question “what should I do?” or at least “what do we need to do?” in order to avoid another debacle like in game two. He stated that the margin or defeat doesn’t matter.

“We can lose by 100.  This is the playoffs.  This is only one game.  It’s just one game. We have to go out and do the small things.  We can’t get outrebounded by them.  We’ve been outrebounded four straight games. We can’t give a team like that 31 second?chance points.  We had so many turnovers.  We can’t allow a team like that,” James stated.

Game one was the most watched NBA playoff game in cable television history. 11.1 million viewers, with Chicago and South Florida as the #1 and #2 markets (naturally) within that audience. Guess who was third?

Yep, Cleveland. I think you can guess who’s side Cavaliers fans are taking.

If this series had a theme song, it’s Chicagoan Kanye West’s hit “All of the Lights,” with Rihanna’s hook: “turn up the lights in here baby, extra bright, I want y’all to see this.”

Everyone all across the country is watching now. Even the days off will be filled with media coverage, plenty of time to ruminate and intake the whole Gestalt of the series.

“You have to sit in and see how bad you played for a couple of days.  Just resting our bodies a little bit.  We can use a couple of days off, to make a couple of adjustments.  They’re up 1?0.  It’s our job to come back in Game 2,” said James.

Then again, as big as this series is, it’s still not an Oprah Winfrey size tour de force. Her final show led to a venue conflict; which moved the game back a day.

“She’s very important.  Not only to the world, but to this city.  We’ll take a back seat to Oprah.  We don’t have a problem with that,” James said about the force of nature that we humbly refer to as a talk show host.

So what will we see from James in game two? Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra believes in his superstar.

“He’s played against three of the best in the league, and he adjusts- Iguodala and Pierce present challenges, and so does Deng. We have to do it collectively, but the on thing I know about Lebron, he always responds after a game where he thinks he can play better,” Spoelstra answered.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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