How LeBron and Cavs channeled Steve Jobs to beat Warriors

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Eddy Cue isn't cheering for Lebron this year.
LeBron took some advice from Eddy Cue's boss this year.
Photo: USA Today

The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off one of the most improbable comebacks in NBA history on Sunday when they came back to beat the Golden State Warriors — Apple’s favorite team — in the NBA Finals and Steve Jobs was part of the reason why.

LeBron James had to dig deep for inspiration when the Cavs lost the first two games of the NBA Finals. After spending the weekend watching old Muhammad Ali fight, James reportedly realized his team needed something they could connect to to make them believe the series wasn’t over. So before Game 3, James gathered his teammates and played a portion of Steve Jobs’ infamous Stanford Univeristy commencement address from 2005.

James focused in on part of the late Apple cofounder’s speech where Jobs talks about taking a calligraphy class, according to an ESPN report. Jobs couldn’t predict it at the time, but the class eventually shaped the design elements and interface of the first Apple computers.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,” said Jobs. “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

While LeBron was digging into Steve Jobs’ speeches, teammate Kevin Love coincidentally had started reading about the tech icon weeks earlier and embraced one of Steve’s mantras, “stay hungry, stay foolish.” Love started writing it on his shoes before games to not get distracted by the stats he was recording and focus on his effort and energy.

“I had just ordered a shirt from a company in Akron with that Jobs quote,” Love told ESPN. “And then [LeBron] played that [speech] like two days later. I came up to him and was like, ‘It’s so crazy you played that with all the chaos that was going on with our team, being hungry, but being down in the series.'”

The Steve Jobs effect apparently worked. The Cavs went on to win Game 3 and then took three of the next four games to finally conquer the Warriors, who they lost to in last year’s finals.

You can watch Jobs full speech below: