You don’t get to be LeBron James without determination, self-belief, and, well, a chip on your shoulder. You need the latter to keep rising, especially after you’ve hit the stratosphere. Because with James’s level of accomplishments, money, and fame, motivation might be hard to come by.
But it’s easier to thrive if you’re mad, if you’ve got something to prove — and who better to hold a motivating grudge against than the doubters. You can always find them.
James is about to take over the #1 spot on the all-time NBA scoring list. He’s playing in his 20th season, still at a physical peak that seems inhuman — but also undeniable. Yet his Lakers are off to an 0-4 start, and James is again feeling disrespected, at least as he states on his latest Instagram post.
The post, featuring a spectacular dunk that for James is routine, asks a question and gives an answer. It’s Chip-on-Shoulder 101: “How long will you be taken for granted….. 💭 👑. Keep going kid.”
That’s The Kid from Akron, in case that needs explaining anymore. King James is at once the regal majordomo of the NBA and yet still the hungry kid from Akron, who seems to think he’s been doubted all along. James, here, is cheering himself on. C’mon, kid, don’t let ’em get you down.
It’s an odd (but also understandable) feeling. Odd because James was the NBA’s #1 pick (out of high school) and has been widely regarded as the best player in the NBA over the past two decades. It’s not as if doubt about his talent, skill, or effort has really been the dominant narrative.
Yet it’s also understandable because James still hears about not enough championships and other nonsense, even as he demolishes records and keeps giving his all night after night.
Still, there is a fact James knows, whatever he might say on social media: he judges himself by winning, not by individual accolades, and the Lakers haven’t been doing a good job getting the victories. That’s where the disconnect is, and if history is a guide, he’ll fix it.