CREDIT: All-Pro Reels via Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons License
LeBron James has the winning mentality. Aside from his otherworldly talent, it is one of the biggest reasons why he has been so successful as a basketball player, with his 4 championships, 4 MVPS, 4 Finals MVPs, 13 All-NBA First Team inclusions, and 16 All-Star Game appearances. This winner’s mindset is also a key in LeBron’s growing business portfolio, with the man known as The King having founded the digital media brand Uninterrupted after making a variety of shrewd investments—first in Beats by Dre, which netted him $30 million, followed by Blade Pizza, Liverpool F.C., and many more.
The 36-year-old LeBron bared in a video conference with Sports Illustrated that this winner’s mindset is something he shares with the late great Kobe Bryant, with whom he shared a mutual respect and deep friendship. “Our games are different,” LeBron points out, “but as far as our mindset and our drive to want to be the best and our drive to not lose, sometimes you’re going to lose games, but that drive to always want to be victorious, it stops you from sleeping.”
The King adds: “And sometimes you put certain things — you sacrifice a lot of things. You sacrifice your family at times because you’re so driven to be so great that other things fall by the wayside at times. So I understand that.”
Like Bryant before him, LeBron backs up his win-at-all-costs mindset with action: he shells out $1.5 million a year to keep his body in optimum shape, countless hours working out in the gym and on his game, and an insistence against load management (an NBA-wide practice in which superstars miss games on purpose to rest and “preserve” their bodies).
So it is no wonder that the man with the winning mentality has been a winner pretty much his entire career—save for his rookie season and his injury-shortened 2018-2019 season. He continues to win now, even in his 17th season at the age of 36. In fact, LeBron looks headed for championship number 5, as his Lakers are listed by Bwin as favorites, ahead of popular pick Brooklyn Nets and their all-star trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and former teammate Kyrie Irving as well as perennial contenders Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Boston Celtics.
The fact that the Lakers are top contenders isn’t surprising given all their talent — LeBron, All-Star Anthony Davis, new additions Dennis Schröder and Montrezl Harrell, and budding stars Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso. What is surprising is how well they are playing both collectively and individually, and that is a testament to LeBron’s winning mentality on leadership: He doesn’t want the best for people; rather, he wants to get the best out of everyone. And he is getting the best out of his teammates, with Davis (21.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists) settling nicely as LeBron’s chief running mate, Schröder fitting in as The King’s secondary ballhandler, and Harrell (14.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists) providing his trademark hustle.
To be clear, LeBron is an all-time great already regardless of what happens at the tail end of his illustrious career. But knowing The King’s winning mentality, you best believe that he is gunning for more glory — perhaps until such time that he is considered as the undisputed GOAT.