LeBron James has never publicly shied away from his challenge since returning to the Cavaliers.
This is his team. Everything the Cavs do reflects on him. Even when his teammates come up short, it’s viewed as LeBron’s failure.
Obviously, LeBron can’t completely control those around him. So, he’s trying to instill a culture of hard work and discipline that maximizes his teammates’ chances of succeeding.
Just how hard is that? Consider the situation he walked into, especially if the tone starts from the top with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.
A lover of practical jokes, Gilbert once wanted to dummy up a fake press release that the Cavs were signing Dennis Rodman to a 10-day contract and put it out on April Fool’s Day; he was talked out of that one. After a playoff victory over the Washington Wizards 10 years ago, Gilbert had a remote-controlled fart machine installed under coach Mike Brown’s seat. When Brown went up to the dais for the postgame news conference, Gilbert stood in the back and worked the controls. Brown was flummoxed — although the microphones didn’t pick up the sounds.
For the Cavs, though, this seemed to be a symptom of a greater problem. Windhorst:
James, a stickler for punctuality, was continually upset by players not being on time. Film sessions, buses, flights — the lack of professionalism burned James. Sometimes it was Blatt, who was supposed to be setting the example himself, who was late. And on a January afternoon when the Cavs were practicing in Dallas, James got so fed up he tweeted about it, writing: “No RESPECT for time! #PetPeeve”
No wonder Cleveland fired David Blatt. This certainly puts a different spin on the “players running wild and undermining the coach” narrative.
These excerpts are from Windhorst’s piece on LeBron taking the lessons he learned with the Heat and bringing them to Cleveland. I suggest reading it in full. It’s quite good.