In business, there’s a certain ability that is underrated in becoming successful. When working with people, orchestrating deals where you try and get every advantage you can while giving up the least amount of power possible, this ability is sorely needed. That ability is being able to stretch the truth, or even flat-out lie, to deceive the person you’re working with so that you can come out on the other side with the better end of the deal. I, personally, would call this the art of bullshitting, and LeBron James, well, he’s a master at it.
I’m not even trying to insult LeBron with that. I truly think it’s an important trait for anyone trying to reach the levels of success in business he’s been trying to achieve his entire career. And up to this point, he’s possibly succeeded more than he could have even dreamed of.
However, given the fact that LeBron is in the public eye more so than most successful (and probably vile) businessmen and women in America, he has to do that bullshitting to the media sometimes. He may have been doing just that on Friday after the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers, as he had the following exchange with a reporter (transcribed by Harrison Faigen/Silver Screen & Roll):
LeBron, it seems like a lot of this boils down to that this season has been what it’s been…
“That’s exactly what it is.”
…and I guess what I’m wondering is, as somebody who was active in putting this all together, and is seemingly going to be active in trying to figure this all out, how does all that sit with you, the beyond the court stuff? The other facets of your role in this organization and certain responsibility for some of this?
“What do you mean by that? My responsibility is to lead this team out every single night.”
But you’ve taken an active role, right? In what this team should look like, how it should play and what it should be like? And I guess this year, it’s presenting you with struggles that you haven’t had, maybe since your second year in the league, you haven’t been in this type of position.
“Record-wise, I agree.”
Does that kind of responsibility of pushing the right buttons, does that make the winning or losing harder?
“Well, first of all, I don’t push the buttons. They ask for my opinion, and I voice my opinion and what I believe. But I don’t press any buttons. That’s what our front office is for, that’s what our leadership group is for. I don’t press no buttons. So we can state that right now. I do wish that we were just playing better basketball, and between me, AD and Russ on the floor at the same time, I think there’s less than 15 games this season. And that’s the biggest disappointment so far that us three, because we all wanted to see this work, and we just haven’t been on the floor. I don’t know how many games it’s been, I think it’s less than 15. 17? That’s pretty bad when you only got 20-some games left.”
So, obviously, when I bring up LeBron’s ability to stretch the truth, I’m calling him out for that in the above quote.
Sure, LeBron isn’t technically the final decision-maker on what roster moves the Los Angeles Lakers make. That’s vice president of basketball operations, Rob Pelinka, as well as possibly Jeanie Buss and her Rambii confidants.
But, come on. In terms of moves like the trade for Russell Westbrook, you’d have to be a fool to think that the Lakers would make that move without getting the go-ahead from LeBron. Of course, from reports over the course of the season, we’ve learned that not only did LeBron give the go-ahead, but he (and Anthony Davis) desired the trade.
LeBron is obviously putting this type of rhetoric out there to distance himself from being held responsible for the decisions that have led to this roster, a roster (albeit with unfortunate injuries to its two stars) that currently has the Lakers five games below .500 nearing March 2022. Doing so, he gains some leverage against the Lakers’ front office in the eyes of the media, even if there are plenty of past reports that indicate LeBron and Davis have been heavily involved in roster decisions dating back to Davis’ first few days on the team.
But hey, this is to be expected from LeBron. He’s The King of telling his own story the way he sees fit, even if the truth has to be twisted a little for him to tell it in a way that gives him the most advantage over his peers. It’s taken a while for the Lakers to experience the professional bullshitting that LeBron can do, but he’s finally unwielded that weapon lately, using it to the best of his abilities.