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Why the Nissan GTR is the LeBron James of Sportscars

Nissan_GTR_LeBron_feature NOTE: I’m a Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant fan, but just as with cars, even I can appreciate good performance regardless of where it comes from. In 2008, Nissan released the latest iteration of the Skyline GTR (R35) to the automotive community with much fanfare. It was particularly well received by the automotive aftermarket, which was thirsting for “Godzilla” to have its first debut stateside. Nissan_GTR_LeBron_20 When LeBron James entered the NBA in 2003, similar to the GTR, he was well received by fans - waiting for this amazing high school phenom to take the NBA by storm. Performance was the key hotspot for both the GTR and LeBron - both had amazing statistical achievements upon introduction:
  • The GTR had a claimed initial run at the Nurburgring of 7.26 – making it the 2nd fastest production car around the Ring at the time.
  • LeBron won rookie of the year in 2003, with averages of 21 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
  • The GTR ran an incredible 3.2 0-60 time with launch control.
  • LeBron was the youngest player to score 40 points in an NBA game.
Nissan_GTR_LeBron_21 Even with these incredible statistics, both the GTR and LeBron had their fair share of detractors.
  • That initial run of the GTR on the Ring was provided by Nissan themselves - subsequent tests times were over 30 seconds slower.
  • LeBron coined his own nickname of “King James” during high school
  • The GTR warranty initially didn’t include launch mode 0-60 runs
  • LeBron was named in a story by Sports Illustrated as the “most over hyped basketball player ever”
Nissan_GTR_LeBron_22 Interestingly enough, it’s the same performance statistics that have both automotive and sports purists questioning how “great” both really are. Is the GTR a true exotic – just because it performs like one? Is LeBron really “the best ever” because statistically he’s rewriting the record books? Do either of them really have the “heart” and “feel” of being word class or are they hiding behind the numbers? Let’s just tell it like it is for a moment:
  • The GTR is a Nissan. Not quite known for exotics as Ferrari and Lamborghini are.
  • LeBron is an athletic masterpiece, he’d be great at any sport – but this is simply the result of heredity and DNA, not particular to basketball skills.
  • The GTR isn’t particularly striking – it doesn’t have those “exotic” lines or presence…oh and it seats 4.
  • LeBron is simply a bullish big guy, practically playing amongst athletes with lesser physiques.
Nissan_GTR_LeBron_25 Do the traditional rules of an “exotic” apply to the GTR?  Production numbers are relatively low – it’s not particularly striking if you see it in a parking lot, but you’ll only see it’s taillights if you try and give it a run. As for LeBron he is definitely not the most fluid player to watch - but just as the GTR, he gets the job done. Nissan_GTR_LeBron_24 As mentioned, both are critically acclaimed in the media - with several high profile awards given to each. The questions still lie for both...with their stories still unfolding. As Nissan unveils its latest iteration, the 2014 GTR Track Edition – a revised model with additional carbon fiber bits and removal of the rear seats (true sportscar!), it will continue to challenge the naysayers. LeBron, coming off of his second championship and entering 2014 as a free agent, is doing the same. -Albert Roxas
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