Lebron James has been called that for years. They called him the heir apparent to Michael Jordan.
He earned MVP honors three times. He has upped his numbers year in and year out, averaging close to a triple double a night. He has amazed people with his high flying antics ever since he entered the league.
And yet, despite all the accolades and achievements, he hadn’t been able to win a championship.
Twice a participant in the NBA’s biggest stage, he fell short. The first time a sweep by the San Antonio Spurs. The second, up 2 games to 1 they lost 3 straight.
People called him weak. Said he was the kind of man who falters under pressure. For years he has drawn ever sort of criticism there is.
People have doubted, mocked and reveled in his defeats.
But no longer.
Today, The King is an NBA champion.
Personally I’ve always been a fan of Lebron James. His athleticism and drive were undeniable.
But as I watched the 2012 NBA Finals I saw a different person than in years past.
Gone was the immature party guy. I saw a guy who had tasted defeat but who grown up a stronger, smarter and more humble person.
Lebron James had learned the hard way that there is power in humility. That arrogance can be our downfall.
In the final game, with the Miami Heat up 20 points in the second half, one of his teammates had already started celebrating, waving his hands to get the crowd excited. In years past Lebron James would have joined him but not that day, not when he was so close to that which he had sought ever since he entered the NBA.
He motioned to his teammate to cut it out.
That was a telling moment for me.
I saw someone who wasn’t going to take things for granted. He had been close before only to see it slip through his fingers. He knew what was at stake and was going to have nothing of it.
He hit the big shots, he played solid defense, he got his teammates involved and then with 3 minutes left in the game and the game out of reach he allowed himself to smile.
As the clocked ticked down and assured of the win, he began to celebrate.
It had been a long time coming and maybe the first of many.
Lebron’s journey is one that we should all learn from.
Here are the lessons that I came up with:
- Actions speak louder than words.
- Persistence pays off.
- Ignore the naysayers.
- Stay humble.
- Play as part of a team.
Lebron let his game do the talking. He kept at it year after year. He ignored all those people who called him soft and that he’d never be a champion. He became humble and he understood the importance of creating a winning team.
Success is never as easy as people make it out to be. There are sleepless nights and criticisms to bear. But in the end, and I’m sure Lebron would agree, “It’s all worth it.”
In many ways Lebron’s rise to the top of the NBA world reminds me a lot of Michael Jordan’s. For years he was the best individual player in the league but year after year he met with defeat. But like Lebron, Michael continued to work to make himself better. He learned to trust his teammates and went on to be a 6 time NBA champion.
We’ll just have to see if Lebron is able to do the same.
Enjoy the video. (make it full screen for full effect)