LeBron James isn’t shy about his off-the-court goals — he wants to build his brand and his business empire, and eventually be a billionaire. He already runs with Warren Buffett (in the “having lunch” sense, the Oracle of Omaha doesn’t actually throw on a pair of LeBron 10 lows and get on the court). The grind of NBA coaching is not in his plans.
Which Grizzlies coach David Fizdale says is the right move.
Fizdale, who was the lead assistant coach during LeBron’s time winning rings in Miami, was asked by Dave McMenamin of ESPN if LeBron has a future as an NBA coach.
Although Fizdale considers James “a one-percentile guy when it comes to basketball intelligence,” he doesn’t anticipate the three-time champion following his career path and one day manning an NBA sideline with whiteboard in hand.
“No,” Fizdale said when asked about a potential future in coaching for James. “He would kill somebody. Perfection is like [his standard]. He wants perfection. I could see him actually owning his own team and doing something like that, but I think [as a coach], he would end up killing a player at some point because they wouldn’t live up to the expectations that he would set forth.”
James isn’t alone here. Great players rarely make great coaches (something true in all sports), and with the money players are making today they don’t need that time-consuming a second career if they don’t want it. Kobe Bryant scoffed at the idea of coaching when asked during his final season. On the NBA’s GM survey Chris Paul is consistently mentioned as the player who would make the best coach, but try to ask him about it and he says “no” before you can finish the question.
This phenomenon isn’t new. Jerry West is a Hall of Fame NBA player — he’s the damn Logo — and one of the greatest front office/GM/talent evaluators the league has ever seen. He was frustrated coaching. While his three Laker teams had a winning percentage of .589 and once reached the Western Conference Finals, West was frustrated. He — just like LeBron, Kobe, CP3 — is a perfectionist with impossibly high standards and coaching guys who just didn’t have the physical and mental abilities to live up to those standards drove him to distraction.
LeBron is never going to be an NBA coach.
But owner? I can see that happening.