Even if you hate him, you have to admit that LeBron James is one of the most epic players in the NBA. He’s huge, he’s fast, he’s, strong, he dominates basketball games, his beard is enormous and cetera. Like Wiz Khalifa, everything he does, he does it big. (With the possible exception of fourth quarters, depending on the night.)
And when we say “everything,” we mean everything. Even when he’s drinking tea, it’s the most epic tea to have ever been sipped. From Lee Jenkins’ epic Sports Illustrated profile:
LeBron James sinks into a restaurant booth on the first floor of the Westin in Jersey City, N.J., and orders a chamomile tea. The sun is setting on a Saturday in the middle of April, and through the windows he can see cars snaking toward the Holland Tunnel, beckoned by the lights of New York City. “For me,” says James, “this is chillin’ time.” It is the travel day between two back-to-backs, four games in four cities, and he is swaddled in black sweats and a red Heat baseball cap with a flat black brim. His voice is hoarse but he says he doesn’t have a sore throat. He prepares the tea as if it is a science project, lifting a small jar of honey and slowly pouring it into a teaspoon he holds over the mug, until the honey is about to overflow. He lowers the spoon and gently stirs, then squeezes three lemon wedges into the tea and sucks the rinds.
This has to be the most amazing description of a person getting ready to drink their tea that has ever been written. If you filmed this scene with slow motion HD cameras, soundtracked it with some Explosions in the Sky and put it on YouTube, it’d do a million views easily. Just picture the honey slowly dripping in to the spoon and lemon juice droplets spraying from the lemons and tell me this isn’t an instant viral hit.
But it’s not just tea that LeBron does epically. It’s also every day life, at least according to Shane Battier, who broke things down with the fervor of a stereotypical intellectual blowhard from a movie, or alternately, Bill Walton.
“He is a global icon, a basket-ball monolith, the most prevalent and recognizable athlete of our generation,” says Battier. “And he’s one of a kind, because he’s the first to rise to prominence in the Information Age, which is why he’s such a fascinating sociological observation. He’s accountable every single day for every single thing, from how he plays to what he tweets to what he says in the pre- and the postgame interviews. He has a camera and a microphone on him wherever he goes, and then when he [goes out to] dinner, there’s a camera phone on him. This is what he signed up for. There is a price to pay. He understands that. But I don’t think a lot of guys could handle it.”
Is this the thesis statement for Shane Battier’s graduate dissertation on the effect of 24-7 media coverage on superstar athletes? If it isn’t, it should be. These few sentences make LeBron James sound like a superhero who has been captured and is being studied to find out how his powers work, or like the scientist from “Independence Day” explaining to Bill Pullman what they’ve been doing at Area 51.
The best part is that these are only parts of the first two paragraphs of Jenkins’ profile. It’s an excellent read and it will probably make you like LeBron James a teensy bit more, even though there are certainly parts where he sounds like he’s reading off talking points. However, these are by far the best parts at making anything LeBron James does seem like it’s the most important thing that could ever be done. A few more sentences like this and you might thing you’re at a sneak peak of “The Avengers.”