With Cavs at a crossroads, LeBron stares down another challenge


BOSTON -- A 96-83 loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday puts the Cleveland Cavaliers one loss away from ending their season. One loss away from ending a streak of three trips to the NBA Finals. One loss away from snapping LeBron James' personal string of seven straight appearances in the championship round. One loss away from James potentially walking out the door as a free agent this summer, saying goodbye to Cleveland a second time after spending 11 of his 15 seasons in the pros playing for the Wine & Gold.
The drumbeat is getting louder around a league that is anticipating the end of Cleveland's dominance in the East and suggesting a shift in power to whichever team James chooses next. Meanwhile, James sat calmly at his locker late Wednesday night and spoke about the quietest activity there is: reading.
James' longtime athletic trainer and friend Mike Mancias gifted the four-time MVP a copy of "The Alchemist," by Paulo Coelho. James recently cracked its spine, flipping through about half the book in the past couple of days.
"What do you give a guy that through his hard work now has access to explore whatever sparks his interest? Well, I thought you can't go wrong with sharing a good book," Mancias told ESPN.
The journey that the main character, Santiago, undergoes in search of his personal legend spoke to Mancias as he considered James' journey through basketball. Santiago, a shepherd boy, dreams of finding treasure by the great pyramids in Egypt and listens to the voice inside him, opening his life up to a world he never would have known.