LeBron Reads These Books to ‘Escape’

King James strategically quiets the noise during the NBA Playoffs. Here's how he does it.

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LeBron reads 'Decoded' before the 2012 NBA Finals / Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

During a conversation with Oprah Winfrey in 2012, LeBron James revealed his go-to strategy for dealing with the pressure before big games: reading. 

“I was reading to not only do something different but to also take my mind off the game,” LeBron told Oprah. “Because during the postseason, everything is about the games. Everything is about the matchup and the team that you’re playing and the city that you’re in. I needed some moments where I could just get a different perspective—to escape.”

In that conversation, he mentioned Jay-Z’s Decoded, as well as Suzanne Collins’s dystopian thriller The Hunger Games and The Pact, a nonfiction book about three young men in Newark, New Jersey, who made an agreement to escape the turmoil of their hometown. 

Since 2012, LeBron has been seen reading other books throughout the postseason, including Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. During another interview around this time, he also mentioned reading West by West, the Jerry West autobiography, as well as Malcolm Gladwell’s pop-science hit The Tipping Point

But nothing quite moved him like Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist, a reading experience he revisited on Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye’s Road Trippin’ podcast: 

“The whole thing about the empowerment of yourself and having your visions become a reality—and the more and more that you dream and actually talk about something that you want to do—it can become true,” LeBron said. “That was one of the things I got out of [The Alchemist]. As complex as that book is and as deep as that book is—it is so, so deep—I was able to figure out a way to translate it to my life at that point in time where I was like, oh, I can remember when I was the 11-year-old kid and I was telling myself ‘Why me?’ some days. I was always telling myself, ‘OK, let’s change the narrative of why me, why us, why are we put in this position? Let’s change the narrative.”

LeBron: The dude is well rounded.

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