LeBron, Arenas must lead way

Originally Published: May 3, 2006
By Jim Obrien | ESPN.com Insider
Stardom seems like a birthright to some individuals in the history of the NBA. Wilt, the Big O, Magic, Bird and Michael are all easily identified by a nickname, an initial or just a first name. Now we have LeBron/King James and Gilbert.

Well, at least LeBron James has entered into that stratosphere. James was not so much drafted as ordained. He is the heir apparent to the throne vacated by Mr. Jordan. He will be in every All-Star Game from now until he retires. Now all he has to do is win a crown and then there will be no doubt who is king.

Gilbert Arenas
AP PhotoArenas, a former second-round pick, is proof that good things come to those who wait.

To most fans, Gilbert Arenas on the other hand is still, well, Gilbert Arenas. No first name, instant recognition for Arenas.

Arenas plays with a giant chip on his shoulder, which developed when he wasn't highly recruited in college and grew when the NBA passed on him during the first round of the 2001 draft. Oops. The Golden State Warriors grabbed him with the second pick in Round 2. The chip got even bigger when he was initially passed over for this year's All-Star Game.

After the Wizards won Game 4 to even the series with the Cavs, it was not a surprise to anyone that Arenas poked fun at the advertising blitz that states we are all "witnesses" to James' ascent. Arenas talks like he plays -- straightforward and sometimes somewhat recklessly. Confidence is not lacking in any of the premier players in the league. They rarely recognize that anyone could possibly be their superior.

As a coach, the very last thing I wanted to hear was a player of mine saying something that would give an opponent a reason to get fired up, especially a dominant one like James. It could backfire on you and the team.


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