Although Kevin Durant is being picked by the majority of the NBA's GMs as the next MVP, there are many analysts saying that LeBron has come out of this summer with a lot to prove, and even more anger to motivate him in proving it. That said, we know LeBron is capable of some legendary offensive performances when he's emotionally inclined (see Game 5 vs. Pistons in 2007). But he's never felt the hate like Kobe has. Not many have, to tell you the truth. As the well-documented Q ratings of late indicated, even after this summer of regrettable, unconscionable decisions, LeBron is still better liked than Kobe, who people can't forgive after more than 5 years.
After their pitiful performance against the Celtics on Opening night, Chris Bosh acknowledged the difficulty in dealing with the actuality of this animosity on the court. It was pretty apparent that it affected all of their play. LeBron himself had 8 turnovers, which is a more relevant scale of his performance, since he can score easier than Barney Stinson.
So can LeBron handle the hate the way Kobe did? Kobe is notorious for performing better when he's pissed off, but what he proved in Orlando and Boston is that he can channel that negative energy into WINS, not just scoring, through other facets of his game. In Orlando, he did what he couldn't do against Boston the previous year against the Celtics' swarming defense, even though he had perfected it in the regular season to the tune of his first ever MVP award: getting his teammates involved. Against Boston this past June, when the regular pressure was punctuated by the game 7 atmosphere and he started to struggle, he went back to the principles: defense and rebounding. He scrapped his way back onto the free-throw line and into the game. He never crumbled and gave up like LeBron (see game 5 vs Celtics in 2010).
He also never had his mom have an affair with one of his teammates, but thats a separate matter entirely, and even then does anyone think Kobe would have gave up? Didn't think so.
So does LeBron have even a chance at showing a fraction of Kobe's warrior mentality? He's given himself quite the catalyst with all the hate he's spawned. If that does prove to be the case, maybe the Decision doesn't seem so bad of one after all.