Saturday , Jan , 14 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Is LeBron the NBA’s Tebow?

‘Honestly, I’ve been paying attention to Tebow all year even while I was watching the Cowboys,’ James said Friday, referring to his favorite NFL team. ‘So I love to see what a guy can do when his back is up against the wall, when everybody counts him out.’ James says he’s in the “same boat” as Tebow, whose Broncos play at New England Saturday in an AFC divisional playoff. He’s not necessarily talking about talent, but about scrutiny. ‘I can relate to him a lot,’ said James, who like Tebow, is one of the most talked-about athletes anywhere. ‘I see how the media plays it sometimes and how the critics go at him and to see him continue to prove them wrong. If it’s a good game or a bad game on his part, he continues to stay positive and move forward. And that’s a great sign. It’s a great leader. You respect that no matter if you’re in that same sport or not.’”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: We knew LeBron James was a fan, but his connection to Tim Tebow, the controversial quarterback for the Denver Broncos, is apparently deeper than that.

James says he can relate to Tebow’s plight as the underdog, as the guy everyone counts out, as the real life Rudy, Rocky, and Cinderella Man.

This is too much.

First, James isn’t a victim. Far from it, in fact. He was blessed with amazing talents, and has benefited from his talent.

Second, James isn’t the underdog. He was the odds-on favourite, dubbed The Next One by media and fans while still in high school.

For instance, in grade nine, James – an Akron, Ohio native – amazed in work outs with the nearby Cleveland Cavaliers. And a couple of years later, ESPN televised his games as prep school senior.

The reason for the attention was simple: James was expected to succeed. Nobody doubted him or counted him out.

And he has suceeded by winning Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, leading the Cavaliers and Miami Heat to multiple 50-win seasons, and advancing to two NBA Finals. Of course, James is arguably the most dominant player in the league today.

Third, the circus surrounding James in 2011 was largely self-induced. He turned his free agency into a spectacle with The Decision, and predicted multiple championships for the Heat before they played a single game.

Tebow is in the public eye in, large part, because of an unorthodox style and willingness to credit God and discuss his religious beliefs publicly.

So Tebow’s situation is very different than James’. No matter what James says or thinks.

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