When it comes to leadership, sometimes it’s the things you don’t do that end up resonating the most. For LeBron James, showing leadership is not throwing his teammates under the bus when he easily could have.
The Cavaliers’ meltdown in Game 3 is the worst kind of nightmare for a superstar like LeBron, who is the face of the league and a lightning rod for criticism. However, when your teammates go 8-of-26 in the second half, the outcome is going to be out of your hands, and that outcome took the form of a 92-90 loss after blowing a 17-point lead to go down 2-1 in the series.
During the post game press conference, a reporter asked James if he thought his teammates could be goaded to “play above their pay grade.” James was clearly flabbergasted by the line of questioning and, after a pregnant pause, responded in a thoughtful manner.
“What are you guys looking for?” James said. “You think I’m going to throw my teammates under the bus? I’m not about that. Guys gotta play better. Including myself. I had six turnovers tonight. I was horrible in the third quarter, couldn’t make a shot. ”
Just take a second to admire the leadership there because James had every right to throw his teammates under the bus in the moment. That’s before the fact that he just bought all of his teammates custom suits ( keep the receipt on those LeBron) to wear as a team before the game.
James is clearly focused on getting out of this first-round matchup but has also taken the time to avoid stepping on his teammates during that journey. For the Cavaliers’ sake, one can only hope that they can solve the riddle that is the Indiana Pacers, or else it’s going to be a long and loud off-season.