Randy Moss. LeBron James.
These men are respectively two of the most gifted athletes the sports world has ever seen. They are big, freakishly gifted athletes who repeatedly took over games and made defenders look silly. Each, in their own right, will leave a legacy in their sport that will go down as one of the greatest of all time. They both made/make the impossible look easy and had peers standing back shaking their heads at the skills they displayed.
Unfortunately, these two men share another similar trait, they lack the will to be the best.
For Randy Moss, who has retired from the NFL just last week and will go down as a top 5 receiver in NFL history, it was all about giving 100%. When he did, he would be unstoppable. His combination of size and stunning speed as well as freakish leaping ability (sound like anyone else?) made him impossible to cover, even if the opposing team doubled up on him. The only one that could stop Randy was Randy and, quite frankly, he allowed that to happen far to often with his obvious laziness at times.
Moss was prone to taking plays off, hard. If he wasn't the primary receiving option in a play then he wasn't selling that he was, period. He needed to be the center of a contending team in the spotlight to bring out the best in him and when he wasn't, he faded like a cheap copy. That was typical Randy and though he finishes his career as a lock for the Hall of Fame, that lack of commitment is a sourse of frustration for many of the greats.
Jerry Rice spoke out on Moss yesterday in his debut as an ESPN analyst.
“It was hard for me to swallow because I was not as talented and I had to work harder,” Rice said. “To see a guy with that much talent not give it 100 percent, it was almost like a little slap in the face. But Randy was Randy.”
“He could have been one of the greatest if he had worked just a little bit harder,” Rice continued. “I don’t think he wanted to give it 100 percent. You never knew what you were going to get with Randy. Sometimes you’d get the unbelievable guy, the amazing guy. Other times you’d get the guy that took a couple plays off.”
For LeBron James, that stigma of not having the will to get it done is fast becoming his MO in the basketball world. A talent not ever seen in the sports world before, James is easily the mist gifted man to ever play basketball. Like Moss, his combination of size, speed and skill is unparallelled in the annals of NBA history.
Frankly, when you're compared to the great Michael Jordan your entire life, you gotta have an ass-load of skills.
The only problem is that James disappears in key moments.
When the pressure gets the hottest and games, even Championships, are on the line, LeBron wilts to the background and becomes, almost normal…average. With the skill set James has, average is a fate this side of death.
To compound this puzzling lack of clutch, James, to this point, has refused to put in the time he needs to shore up the holes in his game. He's a weak free throw shooter with no post game who can't shoot beyond 15 feet with anything resembling consistency. His astounding ability to get to the basket overshadows this at times but these holes are very glaring and are ones that honestly should have been filled by this time.
The good news for LeBron, as opposed to Moss, is that he still has time to mend the holes in his game and his growing reputation as being 'anti-clutch'. Word from the 'King' Himself is that he is seriously trying to develop a post game this offseason so maybe some of this negative has set in.
I don't know, time will tell.
For now though, the similarities between Moss and James are their for all to see and it's a shame to see such talent settle for being anything but the best.
Which is what both could have been.
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