He’s winning games in the NBA finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is why he came back home. And like the story of the Prodigal Son, when he returned, he was received with a party. Different to the prodigal, LeBron never left home to go and waste his inheritance. He moved to Miami for the sunlight and the opportunity. He took his talents south so he would get a chance to play with his friends (who by the way were very good at basketball and helped him win 2 championships!
LeBron Raymone James was born to a 16-year-old mother in the projects of Akron, Ohio. Mama Gloria did her best to raise him on her own. They moved frequently. Found little support. She even had to temporarily surrender custody of her son until she could get her finances sorted out. Thankfully, LeBron found sanctuary on the basketball court. And it was the sport itself that allowed him to trace a new pattern for his life and his children. (Watch his story here: More Than a Game)
He married his high school sweetheart. He has 3 kids. Does tons of charity work. And still travels with his mama. Yes, there’s something about the dude that gets me. LBJ is properly my man crush.
I’ve been following his career since the beginning. Suffered with him through the “almost” years with the Cleveland Cavaliers. And literally cried for 20 minutes when he won the championship and Finals MVP with the Miami Heat.
I’m not ashamed to say it (I’m actually proud of it), I went with LeBron to Miami. And this year I returned with him to Cleveland.
As I write I realise that he’s not like the Prodigal Son. His journey is more like the journey of God’s son, Jesus Christ. (Yes, I said it. LeBron’s story is like Jesus’ story.) (And Jesus is my Ultimate Man Crush!)
Look, the guy decided to reduce his status as “the man” and instead choose to play alongside friends and comrades. He won because he approached the game from a “we” perspective as opposed to an “I” perspective. On the court he is more a “servant” than a “ruler.” So it’s true. He is neither Kobe nor Jordan. He’s actually much better! (Yes, I said it… he’s the king.)
LeBron is beyond talented yet constantly puts others before himself. He celebrates more when he passes and his teammates score than when he himself puts on the one-man-show.
The sports-media is constantly demanding that he acts more like the older generation. Pick more fights. Make more enemies. Be in control.
But King James is more New Testament. And he approaches the game with grace.
He decided to come back home to Cleveland (and we know it was not because of the weather) – He did it for the right reasons. He chose his people. His city. His crowd. And above all, his family.
I wish more of us Church Leaders would take the LeBron approach: To acknowledge our abilities but make them available for others to shine. To forgive those who hurt us in the past and start working with them again. To choose our family above the work. The community above the spotlight. The right-thing before the convenient-thing.
LeBron said it best in his letter to Cleveland announcing his return,
I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.
As ESPN wrote on the night of his return to Cleveland, “Tonight was part homecoming, part family reunion, part revival meeting and a huge celebration rolled into one.” But they lost the game. He played poorly. The emotions and the nerves were more powerful than the skill. That’s how much this means to him.
So this is the Gospel according to LeBron James. And I for one feel privileged to witness The Best Ever, making the best decisions, in the best way possible.
LETS GO CAVS!
Watch the video below and enjoy the goosebumps: