Sure: everyone from Neymar to the amateur ballers at your local court are currently rocking a Lebron singlet. But there was a time when that was not the case. Back in 2010, Lebron was public enemy No. 1, having left his home-side Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami Heat.
During this season, UPROXX reports, “LeBron was lost, personally, when it came to how to handle his sudden heel turn in the public eye.” Although going to Miami to form a super team with Wade and Chris Bosh was a great opportunity, “He struggled with his perception as a villain since he’d only ever been a beloved figure since high school.”
So how did he become one of the most popular figures in NBA history? Up until recently, we had little by way of explanation. Hard work, positive results and a good attitude, one would assume. But according to a recent ESPN interview, there’s more to it than that.
Key to shaking Lebron out of his 2010-2011 funk, the (now) LA Lakers’ forward explained after last week’s game against Dwayne Wade, who still plays for Miami Heat, was a vacation in the Bahamas with Wade, back when they were playing for the same team.
In an interview with ESPN, James said that a vacation that he and Wade took with their wives to the Bahamas in the summer of 2011 was key to re-kindling his confidence in himself and his career. If not for this conversation, ESPN reported, “Maybe James wouldn’t have reached his current stature among the all-time greats.”
“They got on my ass,” James said. “My agent, Rich Paul, and D-Wade and even Gab and my wife, they got on me.”
“They were just like, ‘Listen, you need to get back to who you are. We understand the portrayal of what they want you to become (the bad guy) right now. That’s not you. You didn’t get to this point in your career by playing the game with the black hat and with that mentality of it’s me against the world,” Lebron said.
“You need to get back to that Magic Johnson feeling, mixed with some other guys — that Penny Hardaway flair, but still that determination of MJ [Michael Jordan],” he continued, explaining what went on in this attitude-vention. “You need to get back to that because that’s just who you are. You are who you are. You’re no one else. Don’t try to be no one else.”
“And then we enjoyed the rest of our god damn vacation. I took that to heart. I definitely took that to heart, and that just changed me from that point on.”
“Without D-Wade in my career,” Lebron continued, “I wouldn’t be sitting here with this résumé… I think I would still be doing my thing individually, but as far as me accomplishing the team goals that truly mean most to me? Twenty-seven wins in a row. Four straight Finals. Two back-to-back championships. It goes without saying. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish it without him.”
This opening up was sparked by the emotional end to last weeks game, which was the last the two superstars (Wade and Lebron) will ever play against each other, this being Wade’s final season in the NBA.
“Some people say you shouldn’t be friends with your competitors because you still can’t compete… (But) even with our friendship, we competed against each other, we pushed each other when we were playing against each other.”