So much of coaching great players involves managing their personalities. Coaches need to determine what kind of animal they’re dealing with before they know how to domesticate them. Some guys need a kick in the pants, some a pat on the butt, and some merely need to be left alone.
I think Miami’s Eric Spoelstra has figured out how to coach LeBron James now that he has become King James.
“His motor is limitless. I don’t want to take that for granted. I don’t just want to assume that he can play 40-plus minutes, but he had to do it on both ends,” Spoelstra said. “Couldn’t get him out in the fourth quarter and if I would have tried, he probably would have strangled me.”
Spoelstra is displaying how he has changed in regard to coaching the best player on the planet.
“He was strong and was at his strongest after 40 minutes of basketball,” he said.
This kind of speech eluded Spoelstra last year but has now become a ritual for the Miami Heat coach.
King James has taken over the person of LeBron but Spoelstra still knows the person of LeBron James is the soul of his alter ego. And LeBron James feeds off positive reinforcement, especially when he takes one for the team by regularly playing 40-plus minutes.
And who among us doesn’t love and respect a human being that has unspeakable talent but is willing to be martyred for his team?
We get this and so does Spoelstra.