There is a saying that “nothing grows in the shadow of a great oak tree.” The general idea is that a taller tree tends to block out sunlight from reaching other vegetation below, which can stunt growth.
To compensate for the lack of sunlight, the plants that make up the understory and herbaceous layer (i.e., groundcover) become shade-tolerant. This means that some ground level vegetation develop the ability to tolerate and thrive in low light levels. Those plants accomplish this by orienting their leaves in various positions for maximum sun exposure or by changing their developmental requirement for light. By doing either, the groundcover vegetation thrives.
After viewing and analyzing a few key matchups the past few seasons and this season, I concluded that LeBron James might not win another NBA Championship. I came to that conclusion not because of Cleveland’s lack of talent, but because of LeBron’s greatness. That’s right. LeBron’s greatness is his team’s biggest hurdle and the primary reason he might not win another championship.
Most of James’ teammates suffer from DTGS, or Deferring to Greatness Syndrome. Rather than playing to their strengths and abilities, James’ teammates play in the shadow of the “great oak tree.” They accept and embrace less popular roles that do not require greatness from them. You can see this in those players’ eyes when they are on the floor with James. They defer to James by default and when they do execute a successful play, they look to James for affirmation.
How can LeBron’s teammates overcome DTGS? What needs to happen in order for LeBron to have the best shot at winning another NBA title?
First, LeBron should accept his role not simply as a great oak tree, but as a Giant Sequoia. LeBron’s teammates need to see how he approaches every game. LeBron should continue playing the way LeBron plays – and that’s in Beast Mode.
Second, LeBron’s teammates need to become shade-tolerant. That is, they should adjust their position for maximum sun exposure. This is to say that each teammate should understand and accept his role on the team and be the best player in that role.
As great as Michael Jordan was, he could not have assumed the role a Scottie Pippen or a Dennis Rodman, or a Steve Kerr. Those players understood their overall significance and value to the team and accepted their roles and became excellent at their positions.
So, there you go LeBron and teammates. What I’ve shared is a requisite step to winning another NBA championship. Best of luck!