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At the NBA predraft camp six years ago, James's vertical leap was measured at 44 inches. Given that he estimates he gets about a foot higher jumping off one leg, that means that with a running start he could probably leap over your armoire without even turning horizontal. This, it goes without saying, is a useful basketball skill. For example, when asked what one part of James's game he would steal, teammate Wally Szczerbiak says, "That go-go Gadget calf muscle on his left leg."
This is not to imply James's two-foot jumping is subpar. A couple of weeks ago, with Cleveland depleted by injury, he jumped center against the Memphis Grizzlies, winning the tip against 7'1" Marc Gasol. A week later he played center for nearly 12 minutes against the Hornets and held his own, which should come as no surprise considering what he did during the Olympics. "He would switch off on opposing centers and say, 'Don't worry about him, he ain't going anywhere," says McMillan. "Because he understands leverage, he would get underneath bigger guys so they couldn't move."
Eyes (New and Improved)
Despite his estimable court vision, up until a year ago, James had trouble seeing certain things. Like, say, road signs. Growing up, James had horrible eyesight. "I was in the classroom, and I couldn't see the chalkboard, so I had to move to the front. I couldn't see a sign three blocks down. I couldn't see a lot of stuff."
So, obviously, he got glasses, right?
"Nah," he says with a sheepish smile. "My pride wouldn't let me."
Thus during high school and his first five years in the NBA, James operated in something of a haze, which must make all the players who got torched by him feel great. Only James claims it never affected his game. "I could see everything on the court. I never had a problem with here"—he holds his hands to the side of his head, indicating his peripheral vision—"it was right here in front that I had the problem."
Then, a little over a year ago, James got Lasik surgery. Now, as he puts it, "it's kind of cool, because I can see stuff in the distance. I'm like, So that's what that is! Pressed, he admits it's probably improved his on-court performance too, saying, "Well, I have gotten better."
Hands (Flinging It)