It's striking, really, looking back at the optimism and pomp and circumstance of Shaq's arrival in Cleveland and where we are now. The welcoming press conference/party is where this profile of Shaq, from the June issue of Esquire, begins. We all know how it ends.
Good reading on a guy who has likely played his first and last season as a Cavalier.
This excerpt gives a little something to take away about LeBron as team leader, team social coordinator, team cheerleader, team chemistry-maker.
"My thing back then was, it was always gonna be my fault if we don't win, so we're gonna have to do shit my way. When I was with Orlando, we was doing it everybody else's way — and I always got blamed. So I just got it in my head, Fuck it, if I'm gonna get blamed, I'm gonna do it my way. Period, point-blank."
These guys seem to like you.
"I talk to 'em. I tell 'em stories. The good thing about my stories is, it's all believable. A lot of guys here have seen me in my younger years do what I did. It's a close-knit group. This is the funnest, funniest team I've ever been on in my life. Just laughter and guys hanging out; I've never been on a team like that. Most of the teams I've been on always had cliques — this guy hangs with this guy, this guy goes to the movies with this guy, two guys from Europe are doing their thing, one guy's doing albums and movies, one guy's doing a business deal, one guy's telling the coaches whatever, but this guy — LeBron — everyplace we go, he'll send a text — 'Hey, meet us at the steakhouse, eight o'clock, meet us at the movies, we got a party tonight.' This is a very, very close-knit group."
Follow me on Twitter: @vincethepolack.
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