The Lebron feature in the latest issue of GQ is a great read. Not just from a basketball stand point, but from a feature writing one as well–the piece is just written and structured masterfully. JR Moehringer, who profiled Kobe for GQ a few months back, knows how to tell a story. The piece starts strong:
He can imagine, he says, playing for Cleveland again one day.
Did I hear him right? Cleveland? Where fans at this very moment are burning his jerseys?
“Maybe the ones burning my jersey,” he says, “were never Lebron fans anyways.”
Now this, is how you open a story. Instant attention grabbing.
It’s amazing that this GQ piece manages to unveil so much Lebron that we do not know. For example, his decision to take his talents to South Beach makes a lot more sense when you hear the story of how Lebron and his friends chose to enroll in a richer, more-white high school as opposed to Buchtel, where every black kids in his neighborhood went. They were called traitors, but the didn’t care–they wanted to play together and win.
The piece also shows us a side of Lebron, a side that he doesn’t show to the public world, a side that Moehringer noticed through talks with his overly-protective publicist (“Lebron doesn’t like to be in rooms he’s never been in, he doens’t like being along with strangers”) and best friends.
Lebron doens’t like to be alone. Perhaps it’s because he grew up without a father and his mom was a struggling teenage mother. Perhaps it’s because all he had as a kid was basketball and his group of friends. But Lebron doesn’t like to be alone, he can’t handle being alone.
“It feels great to be in full control of my future, and being in control, means keeping heart and head separate”
That’s what Lebron said to Moehringer regarding his decision. That’s what Lebron wants people to think. But when you look clearly, it’s obvious the decision was affected by his heart–he wanted to be with friends and recreate the “balling and winning with friends” feel of high school.
No matter how strong a person is, it’s still nearly impossible to separate heart and head completely.