Current public opinion suggests that LeBron James fails under pressure. We saw it in the fourth quarter of Finals games this spring, and while LeBron's performance earlier in the playoffs may suggest he's plenty capable of playing well in crunch time, the biggest stage matters. All his accomplishments are minor until he lifts the Larry O'Brien Trophy in triumph.
This video displays both the best and worst aspects of LeBron's performance in high-pressure situations. The setting is quaint: a pool in Barcelona. The situation: James won't jump off a high-dive platform. The story: After several minutes of audience cheering, a man yelling over a loudspeaker, and an impromptu playing of the LeBron-referencing "Watch the Throne" track "Gotta Have It," LeBron finally jumps. And everyone cheers because they love it.
There are two ways to look at this ordeal. First, we can say that LeBron is a big sissy who only jumps off diving platforms when dozens of people yell at him to. On the other hand, that diving platform is very high and some people have real fears of heights. Plus, he eventually did it and everyone liked it. This story should be about overcoming fears and accomplishing wonderful things, not some short-lived reticence.
So let's celebrate LeBron. Because, no matter how angry we get towards him now, we're probably going to cheer him when he joins past champions in the pool party of basketball history. It's full of pool noodles and every raft has a drink holder.
(Video via TBJ)