LeBron James On The Discipline Required To Become Great: “You Have To Sacrifice Loved Ones”

LeBron James On Discipline In Order To Become Great: "You Have To Sacrifice Loved Ones"

LeBron James is a supremely talented athlete who put in a methodical process to ensure his talent was realized. He opened up to JJ Redick about the dedication required to succeed in basketball on their new ‘Mind The Game’ Podcast, where James discussed sacrificing family time to maximize success in basketball.

“When it comes to discipline, you have to sacrifice loved ones. You have to sacrifice loved ones for a long period of time if you want to be great. It’s very unfortunate and you feel it at times, you know the saying, if it’s too hot, get the hell out of the kitchen. Sometimes you have to get out of the kitchen because it’s too hot but you have to have a discipline to sacrifice loved ones in order to be great because they don’t understand. That’s okay.”

James then described how demanding his daily routine can be and how he’s had to consistently sacrifice his free time or family time to work on his preparation.

“They don’t understand what it means to, like I’m getting up every single day at five or six AM, and when I get home after everyone leaves the gym, I have to take a nap, so now you’re sacrificing your loved ones because you’re not spending time with them. When I wake up, I’m probably gonna train again and then I’m gonna have dinner and I’m going to bed. I got to do that every single day for a long period of time. That’s sacrifice and discipline.”

Everything James has done has clearly borne fruit, as he has rewritten all existing noting of longevity from a superstar athlete. Even ignoring everything he’s achieved throughout his career, his performances in Year 21 alone show how hard he’s worked to maintain his body to be able to play at this level at this age.

James is averaging 25.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 8.1 assists this season, a number nobody at age 39 or Year 21 has come even remotely close to. He is either No. 1 or No. 2 in the all-time basketball pyramid depending on who you ask, and getting to that position required him to put in years of sweat equity into the game, even if it meant he couldn’t spend time with his loving family.

LeBron James Loves The Game Of Basketball

LeBron has been dedicated to the game of basketball ever since his prodigious talent was discovered in the 1990s. He’s been dominating in the NBA ever since he was a rookie, constantly expanding his skill set to become a more effective player over time.

All of that’s been possible because of James’ love for basketball and his willingness to put the work in even when nobody’s watching, as he told JJ Redick.

“Do you really love the game? I am not talking about wins and losses, do you really love the process of the game and everything that happens before the referee does (jump ball)? That’s the easy part, you know this. You were one of the first ones in the gym and one of the last ones to leave. Everyone sees when the cameras are rolling and the 20,000 fans are there, and the cheerleaders are dancing, the popcorn is popping, the celebrities are sitting in celebrity row. But who has the love for the game when nobody is there?”

James entered the NBA as a one-dimensional run-and-dunk athlete with a wooden shot who was turnover-prone. Everyone saw he had the potential to be a lot more and he ensured he lived up to it, gradually adding a jumper to his arsenal before expanding his post-play and becoming one of the most complete players of all time, expanding his playmaking skill-set as well.

This season, James is shooting over 40% from three on 5.4 attempts per game, finally adding a consistent three-pointer to his arsenal to show that old dogs can continue to learn new tricks if they want it bad enough.

James has suffered from an athletic decline that nobody can question. But his work on becoming more skilled every year of his career has allowed him to sit atop the NBA’s all-time scoring charts, with a chance to possibly retire with 50,000 professional points scores across levels.

The work required to be that proficient is unimaginable and it’s clear James’ love for the game propelled him to reach these heights even when he could have been satisfied with everything he achieved earlier in his career.

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