How I strived for greatness—and failed—in front of LeBron James
In life, there are moments when you just want to turn back the clock a few minutes and get a do over like a video game.
That moment for me came last Saturday.
With just three hours of sleep and mind fresh from grad school torture, I headed into the opportunity of a lifetime to workout with LeBron James. But first, I needed coffee.
When I arrived at Kerry Sports in Bonifacio Global City for the trial with 12 other members of the media, I knew I was in trouble and for good reason.
After we strapped on our pair of Nike Zoom Soldier 11s and Nike gear that barely fit, what followed was a series of drills that got my heart rate up faster than LeBron could jump.
Speaking of LeBron, the great Cavalier arrived just after the warm ups. Decked in a grey t-shirt, black shorts, and his size 16 “Silver Bullet” Soldier 11s, James had the chance to oversee our training, which was also witnessed by hundreds of fans inside the facility.
As the fans in the stands tiptoed and craned their heads to get a good view of The King, he was within my arms length and I took the golden opportunity to strike a conversation with him.
“Hey ‘Bron, what’s up?” I asked the 6-foot-8, 250-pound legend in front of me.
“I’m good, how are you?” he asked back.
I wanted to say things were peachy, but after a few rounds of this world-class training that has put LeBron in the best shape of his life in his illustrious NBA career, I was beat and it showed—it was hard to miss the sheen of the glimmering sweat from afar (my other friends from the media noticed).
As the drills went into full swing, I seemed to be getting worse. I missed four more layups after hitting the first. Then when it was time to do the jumpers, I airballed my next shot and bricked the other. When we were asked to stop on the right wing, make a move and go for the layup, I only made one in four tries.
Clearly, I wasn’t a picture of greatness.
What made things more embarrassing was LeBron saw that I sucked. It’s not every day that the NBA’s most dominant player, whose first order of business in a foreign land is to go straight to the gym and work on his skills, get to witness me throw bricks in an event that was all about “striving for greatness.”
LeBron always preached of hitting that peak form. Unfortunately for him, my cholesterol-filled sweat glistening off of me isn’t exactly an image to behold as I chased my breath harder than I could solve a math problem.
Maybe my nerves weren’t with me or I just didn’t get enough sleep. But shortly after the workout, when the Gilas players breezed through their drills under James’ scrutiny, the most I could do was remember the disappointment I gave LeBron and how I need to work harder next time.
I guess that’s what LeBron’s striving for greatness mantra is all about—you can’t get everything perfect on your first try (and in my case, the second, third, fourth…) but how you bounce back from adversity is what counts.
In my case, after screwing up royally in front of the King, I didn’t get a second chance. Like missing the context clues your date gave you, I blew it.
Now let me get my do over button.
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