On June 19th, 2016 I witnessed.
As I sit here in my Steph Curry shirt, I’ve only begun to realize what a fool I am. The blind arrogance, the need to reprieve the decoronation of the king, and the senseless mindset that I have the right to judge and scrutinize someone who works tirelessly and relentlessly to achieve.
See, to me sport is a metaphor for life. Sure, I’ll never be able to hit a buzzer beater in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, throw a Super Bowl winning touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr., or score a goal in the World Cup for the United States, but I live with what I have, and what I have is an endless amount potential within my own field, the potential to metaphorically win my own Super Bowl, my own NBA Finals, my own World Cup.
So don’t look at athletes and their accomplishments as just unobtainable goals that we’d never ourselves reach, but instead, strive to be the Peyton Manning of the work force, the Lionel Messi of parenting, the LeBron James of life.
Now a few days ago, that LeBron reference would’ve been replaced with a Michael Jordan or a Derek Jeter, but they’re not who I’m here to celebrate. Each and everyone of us should appreciate what we have in a figure like LeBron. He may not be your idol, your hero, you may hear the name and think nothing of it, but the reality is that LeBron has accomplished in one year, what we all work our whole lives to achieve.
We fight ourselves day in and day out to have the mentality to never give up, to always improve, and to finish what we’ve started. We tell ourselves that no obstacle will ever be too big for us to overcome. Unfortunately, the pressure builds, the work becomes too stressful, the ends no longer justify the means, and we simply say to ourselves “life goes on”.
Yes, LeBron may be scrutinized, he may be disrespected, he may be hated, he may be loved, he may have what seems like the proverbial weight of the world on his shoulders, which is more pressure than many of us will ever experience, but LeBron James, like me, is human. LeBron puts his pants on one leg at a time and goes to work, and no one works harder than LeBron, which only shows me that there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than me.
The Golden State Warriors had a historic run. Their accomplishments should not go unnoticed. They went 73-9 as reigning, defending champions and had the first ever unanimous MVP in Steph Curry, but although they were a team full of warriors, they did not have the ultimate warrior, and in the end it lead to their downfall.
To make and deliver a promise to someone is one of the everyday life struggles that we all deal with, now imagine being an 18-year-old kid out of high school making a promise to an entire city.
Now I hail from Miami where people either really hate LeBron or truly love him, which is funny when you consider the fact that he helped the Miami Heat reach four consecutive NBA Finals, winning two, and picking up three league MVP’s along the way. He accomplished more in four years in a Heat uniform than anyone in team history had ever accomplished throughout the course of their careers.
Yet people still seem bitter about the manner in which he left. Sure, if you ask me, he could’ve left a bit more gracefully. He could’ve thanked the fans and the organization with more than just a few words in an open letter, after all, they did help him win his first two championships, relieving him of agony and stress along the way. But in reality, was the way he left Miami any worse than the way he left Cleveland originally? I don’t believe so, and so to bitter Miami fans, I say it’s time to move on.
Now isn’t life funny when we sit on a couch or a bar stool and criticize and judge the capabilities of another human who has so clearly worked their entire life to get to the highest level of their career? What if George, the accountant, had a mob of people outside his cubicle telling him “you ain’t good enough” “you’re nothing”? What if the roles were reversed? Honestly, what gives us the right?
The ability to take on the challenges that not only you, but your critics put in front of you and accomplish them and ultimately prove your worth and cement your legacy is a skill we are all capable of possessing, but at times feel we are too small for.
In terms of the greatest of all-time conversation, many question where this series places LeBron on the all-time list. I believe people are afraid to put LeBron so high on the list out of respect for the legends of old that we’ve grown up hearing about. To the historians of the game, it’s strange to see an active player who is still in the middle of his prime in the conversation.
It’s comparable to how many perceive Lionel Messi, but at what point do you end denial? When all the records are shattered? When all the trophies are won? When you accomplish what no other has ever accomplished? Messi and LeBron are one in the same, and what’s scary is that they’re not done yet. Two athletes in the prime of their careers who are already in the conversation for best of all time. It’s time to leave the state of denial.
LeBron needs to be celebrated, celebrated the same way Michael Jordan continues to be celebrated today. This past series was the true crowning of the king. To see a person give so much of his time, his blood, his sweat, and as we saw as soon as the clocks hit zero at Oracle arena, his tears.
It’s about more than sport, it’s about determination and drive. It’s about getting the job done, it’s about making promises and delivering them, it’s about delivering on your grandest stages when all the lights are on and the spotlight is on you. To have what feels like a planet of people tell you “you can’t do this” “you ain’t good enough” and to shut them up and DELIVER, now isn’t that what we’re all after in the end?
So to anyone reading this, I say go out and deliver. Envision yourself at the top of the steps like Rocky, accomplish what you’ve set out to accomplish and always finish what you’ve started.
On June 19th, 2016 I witnessed. You witnessed. And now today, it’s our turn to be witnessed.
Congratulations to the King.
Now how can you not be romantic about LeBron James?