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Isiah Thomas: LeBron is going through what all stars do

Jun 17, 2011, 3:09 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

Isiah Thomas is making some sense.

So, clearly we are not talking trades. But don’t forget Thomas is a Hall of Fame point guard who led a team to multiple rings and knows what it takes to climb the mountain. He got smacked down by the Celtics plenty before he reached the summit.

And LeBron is learning the hard lessons all stars do in the NBA about what it takes to win, Thomas told 106.7 the Fan in Washington D.C. (via Sports Radio Interviews)

“When you look back over history, history has a way of really telling the truth and sometimes in the present we tend to forget what happened historically. When I first got into the league I remember watching Magic Johnson dribble out the shot clock in Boston and being called Tragic Johnson. Do you remember how he was one of the most vilified and disliked people because he fired the coach. So Magic went through a lot of turmoil before he became loved again by everyone.

“When you look at history in terms of the players having had success and they fall down and get back up. Very rarely does anyone go through this league where they just have a perfect ascension to the top. They always rise a little then get knocked down, rise a little then get knocked down, rise a little and get knocked down. Even Jordan, he had his ups and downs and his battles with the media, the press, and everything else. He had his ups and down in the league. LeBron isn’t going through anything different than most superstars have gone through in this league.

“The only thing that’s different is the technology. You have the power of the Internet and technology, which has changed the information source and the information flow and has really invited everyone into the conversation. Everyone brings their own opinions but they don’t bring the historical facts to go along with those opinions.”

Not sure the last part is true. But Thomas is right about perspective — we are halfway through LeBron’s career and we have no idea how he will be perceived in eight or 10 years when he retires. Magic, Kobe, there are a lot of players where the perception changed — there was a time when Isiah Thomas was not the butt of jokes.

  1. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    I dont recall Magic, Isiah, Bird, Jordan or even Kobe acting with the kind of hubris James has shown towards fans in general and his “haters” in particular.

    • gandalf47 - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:47 PM

      Agreed!!! Also, if I recall, Isiah Thomas scoring 25 points in the fourth quarter of a Finals game with an ankle that was so severely sprained, that most of us couldn’t even get out of bed. He didn’t win that game, and that was part of HIS growing experience. That’s a far cry from just “disappearing” in the fourth quarter, and, in my opinion, completely giving up last year in Boston while the game was still in question. Isian and the other players he references had heart, even while they were learning, something LeBron has yet to show.

      I say apples vs. oranges.

      • barkley4life - Jun 18, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        Yeah because a message board poster knows a lot more then a Hall of Famer…young people today I tell ya.

    • randommofo - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

      “I dont recall Magic, Isiah, Bird, Jordan or even Kobe acting with the kind of hubris James has shown ”

      Lol… seriously? Go do some actual research before making such claims

      • gandalf47 - Jun 17, 2011 at 8:08 PM

        Point out some specific examples of ANY results of research that demonstrates that either Magic, Isiah, or Bird did that even was remotely similar to “The Decision”, or the ridiculous display of hubris that LeBron, DWade, and Bosh displayed as if they had already something before they had even played one game.

        I have watched every one of these players’ careers, and have never seen anyone as full of himself as “The King”, who has yet to accomplish ANYTHING for either of his teams. He is 0-4 when he has been in a position to lead his team to a ring. Even if the others took some time to get there, they left all they had on the court, and did not check out in the fourth quarter, as is LeBron’s habit, dating back to at least the Boston series last year.

        Why defend a loser against players who have all earned multiple rings?

    • Jay Olive - Jun 18, 2011 at 9:07 PM

      You’re right. Especially Bird, who was way too low key for that stuff. I seriously believe he just wanted to hoop and uummm, how do I say this in public… women. LOL

      but this is what i think of lebron.

      I’m a mavs guy so i may biased, but not as much as cavs fans.

  2. digitalpoo - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Kurt is this really you?,r:0,s:0&tx=33&ty=48

  3. randysavage4ever - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    wise words from Isiah…

    hes not just talking about basketball either…look at the NFL

    Brady was a 6th round draft pick & was not on anyones radar, while sitting behind Bledsoe before he got his chance

    Peyton Manning lost to the Patriots a bunch of times before breaking through for the ring in 2006

    Drew Brees was considered a bust before he had 1 good year with San Diego, then hurt his shoulder and had to resurrect his career in New Orleans, It turned out pretty well for him…

    Everyone goes through different paths, ups & downs in their careers…his point about technology is absolutely right on the money…

    For example this web site ProBasketballTalk has a new Lebron post every 10 minutes…

  4. goforthanddie - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    One idiot trying to cover for another.
    leb is 26, been in the league 7 years now? Is he really going to mature any more? Is he going to ditch the posse and learn to shut up? I don’t see it, there isn’t even the slightest sign of improvement.

    • md23rewlz - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:01 PM

      You said it: He’s 26. Not 36. To think that there’s no way he’s going to mature or learn from his mistakes is shortsighted. He’s still little more than a kid in terms of his athletic life. And even setting that aside, had his team won two more games, nobody would be talking about LeBron’s immaturity. They would be talking about how wide-open the future is for a guy who is just 26. He was a complete letdown in the Finals, and they STILL almost won it all. I’m a Dallas fan and when Nowitzki lost in 2006, everybody said that he was soft, a choker, not a team leader, etc. etc.. He got much of the same flak that LeBron’s getting now (just not so much regarding public relations). You have to be careful making pronouncements based on the short term. Miami was a very very good team this year, and they came very very close to a title. For all of LeBron’s issues, they were two games away. Let’s not forget that. I’m far from LeBron’s biggest fan, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that he’s stuck in cement and he is who he is. He’s still a young dude.

      • goforthanddie - Jun 17, 2011 at 11:18 PM

        Miami did very well this year, much better than I hoped/anticipated. They could have done better, but once again leb quit. He says he’s an Alpha, he wants to be an Alpha, then he shrinks.
        Seven years in the league, won basically every award possible except the big one. This was his second Finals, yes? He knew what to expect, and what was needed, and he didn’t bring it.
        Can he improve? Of course, but it’s not his skills that need work. A trip to Oz might help. And he didn’t go to Miami to better himself, he went there because he needed help :'(
        Lastly, I’d like to point out leb was fine before The Decision. Since then, he’s become totally unlikeable. One stupid utterance after another. Arrogance upon arrogance, and he’s rubbing off on Wade now. That doesn’t sound like a young guy maturing, that sounds like a 26-year-old regressing.

  5. gandalf47 - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    The reason that there are so many LeBron comments is his own doing. “The decision” and his stupid pre-season “coming out party”, complete with the guarantee of a dynasty before even one game was played was just plain STUPID! If he had come out and played like he meant it in the Finals, I don’t think he would be getting this treatment, at least not from me. Anybody can be outplayed, but to “disappear”, like he did last year, then tell his “haters” how bad their lives are compared to his, then he is fair game. He still blames everyone else but himself.

  6. theripster30 - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    somewhere, tim duncan is laughing right now

  7. thetooloftools - Jun 18, 2011 at 1:49 AM

    LeBron James did absolutely EVERYTHING he could do to be the center of attention.
    He made teams fly to Cleveland “so the King could hold court” … (read as kiss his ass).
    He basically waited till all the free agents were signed and went on TV and did us like no athlete has ever done a town.
    Then the Wade, Bosh, and James have a pre – championship, WWE inspired, smoke filled stage, and coming up through the floor to sirens and screaming party, and predictions of “not 1, not two, not 3 not 4” rings the were going to win as the crowd roars with delight.
    THEN THEY DON’T WIN A RING …. and we who criticize are all “haters”.
    You ran smack and I’m calling you out LeBron and NO, I’m not going to go away. I enjoy watching you fail.
    Like is said “saw that 330 off your arm” because your only loyal to a mirror.
    Now everyone is picking on you :o( poor baby.
    The reason I will not climb off you is for all the workers at the Q, all the parking lot attendants, all the police and traffic control, all the bar tenders and waitresses, and so many many more including the fans who believed you when you said “I will not rest until I bring a Championship to Cleveland”.
    DO YOU REMEMBER SAYING THAT LeBron or were you misquoted or misunderstood again?
    No, you wern’t.
    We drank your Kool Aid.
    You ended up as a fake ghetto punk who screwed us and then danced on a fog filled stage like some rock star and threw it in our faces.
    How is all that tasting now LeBron ?
    Reality is a bitter pill when one has sewn seeds of discontent.
    Don’t look for me to go away any time soon.
    The biggest mistake Dan Gilbert made was trusting you (and the Akron idiots you call your “inner circle”) would keep your word and bring a Championship to Cleveland. He had a bank and a gaming bill in Ohio to worry about… he trusted the team to you and you blew it.
    Spoiled freakin’ brat.
    I Love the comeuppance.
    What is so crazy is that you seem oblivious to all this.
    You don’t get it.
    You never will unless you grow up.
    I would really enjoy getting into your head sometime.
    The engine is world class… but the wiring is like a down power line on a wet road.
    No advice is better then bad advice.
    This past year he been a grease fire for your brand.

  8. PWizdom - Jun 18, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    While I can agree with Isiah that stars take their bumps, I do not agree that Lebron is going through what so many others have. This different. The internet piece is irrelevant when you are looking at someone that dubbed himself the king and has stated he wanted to be the top athlete and marketing piece in the world. So it comes with the territory. Secondly, the losing is not the issue with me, its the heart shown(or lack their of)…I just did a post on Lebron titled: “Lebron James: Talent vs. Desire, Skill vs. Will.” Take a look at it and comment and let me know what you think.

    • netpup206 - Aug 4, 2011 at 7:54 AM

      Yeah right. Like Jordan never said he wanted to be the top athlete and marketing piece in the world…
      Here’s a tip. I love them all…but they’re ALL a&*holes. They all have hubris. The internet magnifies that hubris by a factor of 1000…you should know that better than anyone. People like you didnt have a platform to publish your nonsense before the internet came around

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