When Ohio’s prodigal son LeBron James returned to the Cavaliers, he had one goal in mind, to bring a championship home. He used his time in Miami to learn how to win and what a championship effort looks like from the Don, Pat Riley. This season, LeBron is looking more like Sonny Corleone from the Godfather than the Don.
In the summer of 2014, LeBron made his great return and stepped out of the Don’s shadow. After losing in the finals last season, LeBron’s mission became an obsession. He wanted the team to approach this season with a business-like approach. Nothing personal, just business. The business of winning a championship.
Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com reported that during the preseason the Cavs had a team meeting to discuss the team culture. Long gone were the days of the pre-game introduction routines, traveling around the arena on hover boards (looking at you JR Smith), and a new dress code was installed. All of these changes were made to bring in a business-like approach to the regular season.
There have been times LeBron has appeared visibly angry at the play of his teammates. Very reminiscent of the scene in the Godfather when acting Don Sonny argued with Tom Hagen and complained he does not have the right consigliere for the war. With how things have played out so far this season, it seems like this might be a feeling LeBron has towards either teammates Kevin Love and/or Kyrie Irving.
As the season has continued LeBron has taken to twitter with cryptic messages like the well publicized ones on March 6th that read “It’s this simple. U can’t accomplished the dream if everyone isn’t dreaming the same thing everyday. Nightmares follow.” And “Structure and Consistency creates Perfection. U shortcut, u come up short. Straight up.” When asked about the meaning of these tweets LeBron said they were a product of his beautiful mind and should not be considered as shots at his teammates. With the way the season has gone though, it is hard not to come to that conclusion. These tweets show glimpses into LeBron’s mind and break one of Don Corleone’s rules, which he explains to Sonny.
LeBron’s goal is admirable; he is trying to lead the team the best he is capable of. It is his passive aggressive style that’s the problem. His all business mentality has stripped the rest of the Cavs of their personality. The team across the country is having fun on a nightly basis at the same time attempting to break the record for the most wins in a season. Just as Sonny was a bad Don, LeBron has been a bad leader this season by not learning how to best motivate his teammates.
Even under Don Riley, LeBron embraced fun. Remember this Miami Heat Harlem Shake video from 2013? They look like they are having the time of their lives and they won the title that year. Let’s hope for less of the Sonny approach and more of the fun LeBron approach for the playoffs.