Maturity sets LeBron, Okafor apart
Mature, professional young players like LeBron James and Emeka Okafor help their teams not only on the court but also with the salary cap.
What makes LeBron and Okafor special is a maturity beyond their years. The term "professional" is seldom used with young players, but these two guys seem to have a commitment and a regimen and a focus and, because of those qualities, a mental toughness.
LeBron and Okafor are much more consistent in their performance than most young guys. Rookies drive coaches crazy because of their inconsistency. One night they'll score 25, the next night five.
Lots of the inconsistency comes from a limited ability to keep perspective. Often, when a young guy plays well he gets too happy, and when he plays bad he gets too sad. Young guys often lack the balance that comes with understanding that an 82-game schedule is as demanding mentally as it is physically.
Both LeBron and Okafor have shown that they have a mental toughness that complements their unique skills. That combination has set them apart.