When you think of the most clutch athletes of all-time, Reggie Jackson should come to mind. I mean, he is Mr. October. Stop me if this starts to sound familiar: Five World Series rings, two-time World Series MVP, three home runs in that famous Game 6 of the ’77 Series. Just legendary stuff.
So when Jackson was a guest on WFTL in Miami this week, it only made sense to ask one of the most clutch athletes ever to critique Miami’s infamously not clutch athlete, LeBron James.
“LeBron needs to get after it with all the skills and size that he’s got,” Jackson said. “He’s got every skill, every ability you can ask for. If you’re going to make up somebody to be a great player — he’s bigger than Jordan, he’s bigger than Wade, he’s bigger than Kobe, he’s bigger than the great players. Unstoppable. And I’ve seen him unstoppable.
“So when I see him have poor efforts when it counts I’m shocked. It’s all in his head. He can do anything he wants. This guy makes threes from half-court. He can drive on anybody, he can get a rebound when he wants. He truly is a special athlete, and anytime he has a poor effort, as he has in the postseason, it’s just because there is something in his head that is not working right. He’s not believing in himself enough.”
Jackson also said that LeBron can’t let being afraid to fail affect him adversely. Jackson admits to fearing failure and believes other greats such as Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana and Bill Russell similarly had to overcome those mental blocks.
“The moment didn’t tense me up, I looked at the moment as an opportunity for success or the opportunity to be a hero… I cherished that chance.”
On the court LeBron, of course, comes under constant criticism for being too passive in the most important stages of the game. For fear of failure, who knows exactly? Examples of LeBron’s late-game follies are well-documented, and you need not look further than this season alone, with the All-Star Game and the Heat’s recent loss to the Jazz. No one doubts that LeBron has immense talent, and it’s because of that we expect more from him in the clutch. When the game’s on the line, LeBron needs to trust his abilities and not worry about defeat.
It’s not rocket science, but Jackson pretty much nailed it.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk
Photo credit: Derick Hingle, US Presswire