Say you’re LeBron James and your long-term goal is to score 38,388 points and break the NBA all-time scoring record.
Scoring 30 points in a forgettable mid-season game early in your career was great, but was also just a drop in the 30,000-plus points bucket. Success has, until last night — when you scored 38 points against Oklahoma City to become the all-time scoring leader — was always a lagging indicator.
LeBron had to play the long, long game.
Fortunately, that’s a game LeBron has always been willing to play.
Take May, 2003. Lebron is an eighteen-year-old phenom about to graduate from high school. Reebok, Adidas, and Nike all hope to sign him to a shoe deal. His first meeting is scheduled with Reebok, whose executives hoped to win the competition before it even starts.