LeBron James admits he envies players of lesser talent and reputation.
In a recent interview the Miami Heat forward talked about how every team he has ever played against had an in-depth scouting report on him and how he would love to be able to just burst out and have a big game with no expectations or knowledge of his skills before the game.
“I’ve never been that guy that can sneak up on somebody,” James said Friday. “I’ve never been that guy, where I can have a career high, and they say, ‘[Expletive], who is that?’ I understand it. But I’ve always been on the other side.”
The conversation comes from the way the Heat have received every teams best shot and some.
In the loss to the Memphis Grizzlies guard Wayne Ellington made a career-high seven three pointers, in a tough win versus the Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons scored a then career-high 25 points, and Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks back up power forward John Henson scored 17 points and grabbed 18 rebounds–both career highs.
“John Henson is a great player and I think he’s going to be really good,” James said. “But I watched him two nights before that in Charlotte, and he shot [airballs] over the rim a couple of times on jumpers. But every time against us, he made it. And I watched Memphis against Denver the other night, and the kid, uh, Wayne Ellington, wasn’t making anything. But he’s a great shooter. Against us … at the end of the game, you look at the bottom [of the box score] and it says career-high for John Henson, career-high for Wayne Ellington. And you say, ‘[Shoot], against us.’ It’s crazy.”
James is right that teams will play harder, more focused, and overall better against the Heat for a few reasons. It is simply because he is regarded by many as the best basketball player in the NBA and the Heat are the defending champions.
These players envy James’s position in the game of basketball much more than he envies their current positions.