Down one point with 16.8 seconds left on the game clock, the Lakers inbound the ball to LeBron James. Guarded by Jimmy Butler, LeBron is about to receive a pick (when a teammate attempts to block a defensive player away from the person he is guarding) from Danny Green which draws his defender Duncan Robinson into the area. Before the screen is fully set LeBron dribbles hard towards Robinson which causes him to focus on defending LeBron while his initial defender Butler trails him in an attempt to double team LeBron. This leaves Green wide open at the top of the key on the 3-point line where he is fed the ball by LeBron to hit the game winning and series clinching shot.
But he misses.
In a stroke of luck his missed shot is rebounded by his teammate Markieff Morris with 6.4 seconds left on the clock (enough time for a shot or pass). Instead of attempting to score the game winner or pass the ball to an open LeBron, he opts to pass to the heavily defended and slightly injured Anthony Davis but his pass is wayward and that’s the game.
Watching this I was pretty pissed off for LeBron. He delivered a tremendous performance – 40 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists while giving his all and anyone who watched could attest to the fact it was him keeping the team from LA in the game. That gargantuan effort seemingly wasted because his teammates, Green and Morris, couldn’t execute in the clutch.
Perspective is invaluable. So heated by the game result I took the time to explain the situation to my Mum and her first words were “wow that was a lot of pressure”. Initially I responded, “that’s their job, they get paid to do it” and although that is true that is minimising the experience and possibly invalidating their feelings on World Mental Health Day of all days.
Under the ridiculous pressure of attempting to win the NBA championship for Kobe it is more than understandable that what may seem simple, hitting an open shot, is much harder than it looks. Mamba Mentality – the mindset of constant self-improvement in the pursuit of your highest potential in life was one of the concepts that defined Kobe. He always willed his team to win with an almost superhuman drive, embodied by players like Butler and LeBron. But when things don’t work out the way you want, that’s when you find out what people are truly made of. That is when you separate those who are there to just participate and in the words of LeBron those that are…
Peace and Love,
Aharoun the Author