Joe Tait on LeBron James: “He never has been, never will be a leader. And down deep, he knows it.”

Joe Tait: It's Been a Real Ball by Terry Pluto and Joe TaitI don’t think anybody expected a guy like Joe Tait to pull any punches in his new book, and he doesn’t.  After being lucky enough to get a copy of it earlier this week, I’m about half-way through it.  Simply put, the book is honest, interesting, and thoroughly entertaining.

The book is titled It’s Been A Real Ball, and is co-authored by Terry Pluto. It is a required read for all Cleveland Cavaliers fans in addition to NBA fans as well.  I’ll have more on this book next week, and we may even have another giveaway in the works too, so staty tuned for that.  For now though, here are a few excerpts from Joe’s chapter on LeBron James.

On James not being a leader:

“He [LeBron] never was a real leader,” Joe said.  “When we got into the playoffs with Boston and it was clear they were playing their best basketball – and the Cavs just weren’t good enough – it had a real detrimental effect on his game.  I don’t know how much his elbow was hurting.

I do know that he just didn’t play as hard or shoot as much as he should have.  He looked defeated, almost as if he just wanted the playoffs to be over and done with. 

He never has been, never will be a leader.  And deep down, he knows it.  That’s why he left to go with Wade.  He’d rather let Wade be the leader.”

Dan Gilbert overdid it trying to keep him:

“Dan overdid it trying to placate LeBron,” said Joe.  “There where times when we had one travel schedule, but LeBron would want to stay an extra day in a certain city because he had a commitment or whatever, and we’d change it to suit LeBron.  

I’m sure Dan felt that he had to do about anything he could to keep LeBron happy…he sure was packing the arena with fans.  LeBron could have run naked down Euclid Avenue, and everyone would say how great it was that he was working out to stay in shape.  People just loved him, and everything he did was great.”  

It’s fair to say James added about $100 million to the value of the franchise.  

“But it’s like raising a child,” said Joe. “If you give him everything he wants, anytime he wants it…that kid is going to come back one day and steal your car.”

On LeBron going to Miami:

“I had no idea about him going to Miami, but I just sense he was not coming back to Cleveland,” he said.  “I look back now, and I’m convinced that LeBron, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh all knew what they were going to do even before LeBron’s last Cavs season. I have no cold, hard facts; I just sensed it.”

You can purchase a copy of the book here, and I’m going to tell you straight up that’s something you’re going to probably want to do asap. 

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.