In Sports, Don't "Feel Bad for Yourself"

I wrote an article earlier this month on my sports blog ( called "Comparing Lebron to Jordan MUST end Now". Having frequently heard this comparison in the media and privately was irritating.

One of many reasons why comparing the GREAT Michael Jordan (MJ) to one of the current NBA's (National Basketball Association) top professional players is the language that Lebron James used after a 2010 game 5 playoff loss to the Boston Celtics.

Lebron said:

"I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to be great, to try to be the best player on the court. And when I'm not, I feel bad for myself because I'm not going out there and doing the things that I know I can do. I'm not going to hang my head low or make excuses about anything that may be going on. That's just not the type of player and the type of person that I am."


I couldn't believe what I was reading as I knew words like this would never enter the mind of MJ. "Feeling bad for yourself" takes one's focus away, can create self doubt and has one thinking of issues unrelated to WINNING on the basketball court.

After this surprising comment, I knew Lebron and his team would lose the series. It didn't take long as they were eliminated in the next game, the 6th.

Lebron is a special player and has been spectacular in the regular season and often stellar in the playoffs. In my opinion, his failures in the playoffs can be attributed to his inability to deal with those "Moment of Truth" moments - times where he should have been able to propel his team to victory. He has come up short time after time in these moments and "feeling bad for himself" is probably one of the main reasons why.

Lebron is a free agent this year which means he has the opportunity to change teams. Every team that is able to afford his services will be doing whatever it takes to sign him. If I were a General Manager of an NBA team, I would think twice before making him the centerpiece of the club. Yes, he will fill the seats and make a ton of money for any organization although an NBA Championship (the goal) is no guarantee if he continues to "feel bad for himself".

Below are a few paragraphs (and the link) from my article:

Let's hope he can bounce back from this recent negativity. This criticism should make him stronger. If not, the all important NBA championships could remain elusive.

Now at 25, he is on the verge of being defined negatively for the first time in basketball. What he may not realize now, but will learn to appreciate at the far end of his career, is that he needs this criticism. Each of the biggest winners before him failed in his own way -- Michael, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird -- and each was driven by that failure to succeed. The question for James is whether this failure is put to an end with victories in the next two games, or whether it is carried forth throughout the long summer ahead, carrying him like a flooding tide away from Cleveland and to a new home entirely.

"Feeling bad for Yourself" in any walk of life is counterproductive and not a positive thing. In sports, displaying this self-defeating feeling can be the difference between being GREAT or very good.

They call Lebron "King" James and he has lived up to the hype during the regular season. Time will tell if he can keep that crown (and his throne) as one of the NBA's best by casting away the doubt, displaying a fiercer attitude, performing at a higher level in the playoffs and winning the award that matters MOST- an NBA championship.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Gswede having some fun during his youth basketball program ( at Liding√∂ in Sweden. (Photo by Tony Friede - the program's photograher)

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