LeBron’s Swan Song?

Posted by By at 12 June, at 14 : 27 PM Print

LeBron’s Swan Song?

June 9, 2011 was Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and the Mavericks.

It was also Natalie Portman’s birthday.

On the surface, there seems to be no correlation between those two events. Delving deeper, you will see that if the Heat are to win the NBA Championship, they need to learn something from Natalie Portman.

Pat Riley is famous for his motivation techniques, including dunking his head in a bucket of ice water and holding out as long as possible to show you have to want a championship like it’s your last breath. During the 2006 Championship run, he extolled the manta of “15 Strong”. But if Riley and his protégé Erik Spoelstra  want a repeat of 2006, they need to look no further than Natalie Portman’s Oscar winning turn in Black Swan.

If LeBron James wants to validate “The Decision” and silence the critics, he doesn’t need to only watch Black Swan, he needs to become the Black Swan.

Much like Natalie Portman’s character Nina Sayers is the perfect ballerina, LeBron is the prototypical basketball player. If you were building a player from scratch you would start with LeBron’s body and go from there. His combination of speed, strength and athleticism is unmatched. The question that everybody has always had is his mental make-up.

In the movie, people shower Sayers with accolades and make her out to be next Michael Jordan of the ballet world.  Even though the talent is evident, they still doubt whether she has the make up to be the Black Swan in Swan Lake, a role that requires one to tap into their darker side.

Now after two performances worthy of the criticism, the doubts are creeping in about James. The most prodigious basketball player on the planet lacks killer instinct. The man he joined to win multiple championships, who is by all accounts an inferior basketball player, has killer instinct. Like Mila Kunis’ Lily, he isn’t better but he is willing to let himself go. Dwyane Wade can be the Black Swan.

In order to win the NBA championship, LeBron James needs to become the Black Swan. Pat Riley has made good players great just by getting them to buy into a philosophy.  Much like the movie, you can see him leaning into James Jones ear and saying “Do you want this man taking the last shot?” (OK, so the movie line is a little more suggestive, but no need to make the comparison that precise.)

Sometimes, like against the Bulls, you can see that James is starting exhibit the signs of sprouting his black wings. But something just isn’t allowing him to embrace the dark side. Like Nina Sayers, it might be an overbearing mother. It could be somebody from his past getting in his ear. After the Boston series, would you be surprised if you found out that that Shaq was waiting outside the arena like Winona Ryder screaming “What did you do to get this role? He always said you were such a frigid little girl. What did you do to change his mind?” (Again, I will leave off the last part of that line.)

Natalie Portman tapped into something to become Nina Sayers, and was rewarded with the ultimate prize in her industry. Every movie she ever stars in from now on will bill her as “Academy Award Winner”. If LeBron James can let himself go, if he can play with intensity that matches his natural ability, he will also be rewarded with the lifetime title of “NBA Champion”.

The Bowse's Word

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3 Comments

  1. Shiz, 6 years ago Reply

    I must say that i enjoy much of the content within this website but this article is one of the stupidest things i have ever read. Come on dude, your comparing Lebron James to a fictional character…this is almost comedic.

  2. Patrick Sicher, 6 years ago Reply

    Well, thanks for your feedback and thanks for reading. I guess I was way off comparing a basketball player to a fictional character.

    I should stick to real people to compare them to, like Superman and The Flash.

  3. Michael_M, 6 years ago Reply

    COmmon man, Lebron is Lebon. He is a sick player, but he has mental issues in the 4th quarter, thats why they need to devert to Wade more. If they hadnt spent cash on Mike Miller, and had some additional weapons on the bench things would have been different. he just doesnt have a killer instict.


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