A Brief History of the Career of LeBron James

08riff_lebron-popupSam Anderson in the NYT Magazine:

There comes a time in the life span of every culture when it becomes necessary to think obsessively about LeBron James.

The ancient Greeks had to do it in the 5th century B.C., when LeBron James was the most dominant athlete in the Olympic Games. Although he was still just a teenager, he won every event with apparent ease: body grappling, mule tossing, javelin throwing, olive swallowing, stone crushing, bird squashing, neck slapping and running all over the place extremely fast.

And yet he suffered from one inexplicable weakness. As Herodotus tells it in “Histories”: “LeBron James — he of the wide forehead and the lumpy shoulders — was a source of much public debate and wonder. His strength and skill were such that his opponents not only lost but they also frequently fled the field weeping bitter tears. Every year, however, when the final and most prestigious event of the Games arrived — the discus throw, in which a victory would have guaranteed LeBron eternal glory — his interest seemed to vanish, like the morning mist, and could not by any means be roused. For no discernible reason, LeBron would slump listlessly to the edge of the field, refusing to throw, sometimes even handing the discus to his friend Demetrus and asking him to throw it in his place. The gods, of course, frowned on such behavior. And so it was that the wrinkliest forehead in all of Greece never felt the touch of the laurel.” It is also to this period that most scholars date Plato’s famous dialogue “On Clutchness.”