Seeing Beneath Greatness

we-are-all-witnesses-lebron-james-546522_1024_768In a couple hours my son and I are going to see the Chosen One: Mr. LeBron Raymone James, live and in person, on his 25th birthday (Cleveland Cavaliers versus Atlanta Hawks). We’ll be sitting in the rafters, but we’re excited to see Him in action. After all, it isn’t often you get to see a guy who makes the world’s best basketballers look like helpless kids.

But what will we be seeing, really? Fast, fluent neural circuits James built through deep practice? God-given talents? How can we see beneath the performance, to the forces that created it?

I was thinking of these questions when I came across this video of an 11-year-old from Washington who’s supposed to be the Next LeBron. His name is JaShaun Agosto, and here’s what he can do:

It’s pretty dazzling. But here’s the kicker: JaShaun’s daily four-hour workout consists of the following:

  • mile run
  • 50 free throws without missing
  • half hour of layup drills
  • 250 jumpers without missing three in a row
  • ten different dribbling drills (some using two basketballs)
  • 200 push-ups
  • 200 sit-ups
  • 150 squat-thrusts

Many of you have probably heard about the new “virtual reality” software. Basically, you aim your iPhone camera at something in the real world — a shop, a restaurant — and up pops pertinent information, such as price or user ratings.

So here’s my impossible game-day wish: I wish that someone would invent a virtual-reality app for famous athletes. Here’s how it would work: we’d aim our iPhone at a Roger Federer or LeBron, and up would pop the number of hours they train, or a sample of their daily workout. It’d work equally well with famous musicians (what would the numbers show on Lady GaGa, I wonder?). Because behind every great performance is hidden a great practice routine.