It's absurd to think that LeBron James needs Roman numerals written on a piece of plastic in his mouth to help him stayÂ focusedÂ on winning an NBA championship. Shouldn't the thought of a championship be enough?Â
NBA championships are supposed to be what these guys wake up thinking about and go to sleep thinking about. Players like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan have an obsession on winning championships that is probably clinical. There is probably some kind of pill with odd side effects to combat that sort of rampant obsession.Â
Yet, here is LeBron James sporting 16 in Roman numerals on his mouthpiece.
Sixteen, in case you are like LeBron and need a reminder, is the number of games a team must win in one playoff to become the NBA champs. It is precisely two more games than LeBron has ever one in a single postseason. It is also half of 32 and the age at which people can begin driving. Uh-oh, maybe LeBron is developing a "Jim Carrey in The NumberÂ 23"Â type ofÂ obsession?
This mouthpiece is...
Ridiculous. He shouldn't need a reminder.
Awesome. Oral guards are an untapped market for motivational messages.
A sign of leadership. This is a statement to his entire team.
Let's forget for a moment that 16 is the smallest number with five divisors and that any show on MTV with 16 in the title will be a hit, and assume that LeBron is doing this to keep focused on the ultimate prize. And that premise is just silly.Â
James shouldn't need this reminder any more than he should have to have a central computer projecting an image on the back of his eyeballs telling him to breathe.Â
All of this said, it is working. LeBron is having an amazing playoff run and his Heat are now just four games away from being NBA champs, but doesn't that make it worse?Â
This would seem to suggest that LeBron has taken his game to a new level because of a renewed focus and driveâ"a focus and drive he should have already had.Â
Putting 16 on a mouthpiece is the kind of needless displayâ"like "The Decision" on a smaller scaleâ"that his critics will always be able to latch onto. These are his choices and athletes have made far worse decisions than these, but if James ever wants to silence his critics then he needs to just forget the flashy, overblown statements and play ball like the man-beast he is.Â