What Happens When Basketball is Over? Jim Burson's Solution-Based Basketball

Notes from Nike’s LeBron James Skills Academy

LeBron and The Announcement

It’s always exciting for me to be around the best high school and college basketball players in the country. And then you throw in LeBron James and it makes the event almost mind-boggling. For the first three days at Nike’s LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas, LeBron was there – playing with the players and working with the coaches. On Day 4 he made The Announcement.

It’s a strong, powerful force that pulls you home. We all have it. I still have a pull toward my hometown even though my parents are no longer alive. And, maybe with a bit of help from his wife and family, LeBron has been pulled home.

What Happens When Basketball is Over? and Welcome Home, LeBron. Jim Burson's Solution-Based Basketball

Front page, Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 11, 2014

As an Ohioan, as a basketball professional, and as a board member of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame I say, “Welcome home, LeBron.”

As strange as this may sounds, I am still in awe of LeBron’s body – 6 feet 8 inches, 280 pounds. He is as thick in the chest and arms and is as athletic as anybody I have ever seen. To say that he is massive is an understatement. He has a textbook athlete’s body. On the surface it doesn’t seem to be a body built for basketball – it’s almost too big. And yet it’s all wrapped in a package of total basketball skills. And the ribbon around this package is his great attitude and mind for basketball. You can stamp that with a great work ethic. LeBron James may have the most complete package ever to play the game of basketball.

What happens when it’s over?

While I was at the clinic John Lucas, the lead instructor for the college players, asked me to give an ad hoc motivational wrap-up to the practice. This is the story I told:

“It’s still in my mind twenty-five years later. It has played over and over in slow motion. Jay stole the ball and headed in for a layup. A player jumped up from behind and hit him. Jay’s body turned sideways in the air, his head hit the back support and he fell to the floor. My son had broken his neck.

His dream of playing in the NBA was over in that moment. And my dream of watching him play in the NBA was over too.

You never know when your dream is going to be over. And you must prepare for life after basketball. You must strive to get your education. You must push yourself and prepare yourself. Because even if you don’t break your neck, at some point basketball will end. Jay was really ‘lucky’ at that moment because he had prepared himself academically with a major in business. Be sure that you’re prepared also. Your basketball career will be over at some point. Will you be ready?”

LeBron has the complete package, but he works hard every day during the season and after the season to make sure he maintains that package. He knows he’s at the top of the game, but that’s only because of his preparation. Are you preparing?

Next post: My second ad hoc talk to the college players at the LeBron Skills Academy.

Photos: Illustration by Robert Carter, Cleveland Plain Dealer; © Foto Factory Fotolia

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