LeBron James learned a lot on how to be a professional and a champion during his four years in the Miami Heat. During these past two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it has shown how much more mature James has been as compared to his first stint with the franchise.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst wrote a piece on James' pushing the Miami Heat winning culture he learned into the Cavs franchise. The story talks about how unserious the Cavs were and how much of a mess it was with its team culture.
It all came from the top starting with owner Dan Gilbert, who would once prank his own coaches at press conferences.
A lover of practical jokes, Gilbert once wanted to dummy up a fake press release that the Cavs were signing Dennis Rodman to a 10-day contract and put it out on April Fool’s Day; he was talked out of that one. After a playoff victory over the Washington Wizards 10 years ago, Gilbert had a remote-controlled fart machine installed under coach Mike Brown’s seat. When Brown went up to the dais for the postgame news conference, Gilbert stood in the back and worked the controls. Brown was flummoxed — although the microphones didn’t pick up the sounds.
While all NBA teams, good or bad, like to prank and have fun, you have to remember there has to be a right time and place for it. Obviously, Gilbert didn't get the memo.
This ties in with recently fired head coach David Blatt:
James, a stickler for punctuality, was continually upset by players not being on time. Film sessions, buses, flights — the lack of professionalism burned James. Sometimes it was Blatt, who was supposed to be setting the example himself, who was late. And on a January afternoon when the Cavs were practicing in Dallas, James got so fed up he tweeted about it, writing: “No RESPECT for time! #PetPeeve”
The Cavs are now in their second straight NBA Finals since James' homecoming return. We'll see if they can get it done this series and bring Cleveland's first championship in forever.