Mark Jackson recently commented on the influence of LeBron James on the current NBA players and how underappreciated he is for it.
The former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson recently made an appearance on the podcast “Club Shay Shay”, hosted by NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.
“LeBron changed the game and doesn’t get enough credit for that. He allowed guys to realize the power they have. I was on a team where the best player, Patrick Ewing, didn’t realize the power that he had.”
— Club Shay Shay (@ClubShayShay) October 1, 2021
He starts off by talking about the Lakers-Celtics rivalry back in the ’80s. He goes on to say –
“We had a video game called Lakers vs Celtics, that’s how dominant it was.”
Mark Jackson states he has no problems with super teams.
He then goes on to say that Magic Johnson wouldn’t team up with Larry Bird and vice versa. This was not only because of their competitive nature but also because they were on super teams themselves.
He then moves on to LeBron James and comments on how he changed the game for today’s players and that he isn’t credited it. Mark Jackson further mentions –
“He changed the game not only as a basketball player, but he changed the game as a business man.”
This is true. NBA players are more than just athletes now. They are icons, with a brand and image to uphold.
The former All-Star guard then recalls an incident involving Patrick Ewing.
He goes on to say that once Patrick Ewing told the coach that he wanted to ride in his own car post-game and not the team bus. The coach then looks at him and said –
“Big fella, I want you on the big bus.”
He then goes on to say that Ewing just came angrily and sat in the back of the bus. Mark Jackson said that Patrick Ewing could have gone in the car if he wanted to. He just didn’t realise the power he had, being the best player on the team.
This is where LeBron changed the game, he helped understand the power they held as businessmen and making the right decision.
How did LeBron James change the game?
LeBron James made a televised decision to join the Heat back in 2010. Then and there, it was decided that nobody would have a bigger impact on the NBA over the next decade.
LeBron James has changed more than simply the way the game is played. He is the epitome of what it means to be a “NBA superstar”. A few ways how LeBron James changed the game are:
LeBron James is the founder of modern-day player empowerment, starting by forming a Big3 in South Beach with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
At the time, James’ move was publicly criticised by fans and media alike. Nowadays, it is really common and other teams view it as a way to build a championship contender.
Players play with whom they want and where they want even if that means forcing their way via trade. Case in point, when KD joined the Warriors after a 73-9 season. Or even when Kawhi Leonard teamed with PG13, a move which would not have happened if Paul George not been traded to Clippers as per Kawhi’s request.
Mastering the Art of Media:
He wasn’t always the best at Media Management. His televised “The Decision” on ESPN in 2010 was publicly criticised by absolutely everyone.
But since then, LeBron has mastered the art of Media, knowing how to use social and traditional media. He also has his own platform “Uninterrupted” to spread his message.
His entertainment company, SpringHill Entertainment, has worked with studios to create content, including “The Shop” on HBO and more recently, “Space Jam 2”
Nowadays, Durant has followed the footsteps of LeBron James, being an executive producer on ESPN’s “The Boardroom”.
There were always athletes who were philanthropists, but LeBron James took it to the next level with LeBron James Family Foundation.
His first major enterprise was creating a scheme in which students would receive free tuition to the University of Akron.
But his biggest feat is the “I Promise School”, a public school for students in Akron, his hometown. It was inaugurated in 2018. LeBron James obviously needed basketball to achieve this feat. But this is much more significant than the game.
This was something that was never done before.
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There is money to be made off the court for today’s NBA superstars. They’re not only athletes, they are also businessmen. They are a brand.
And LeBron James made that happen.