Everybody needs a hero in their life. This is just as true for kids, as it is for the people of Gotham City. In my life there are several heroes, but one of them is called LeBron James. Since I’m 12 years old, he has been the guy I’ve admired and who has inspired me to become a better basketball player (and through that a better person). His letter about his decision to switch teams from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers has inspired this blog post, and hopefully it will inspire people around the world to do the right thing. Let me explain.
1. Getting back up
When LeBron decided to go to Miami on July 8th, 2010 a lot of feelings were hurt. Cleveland fans felt betrayed and were burning their jerseys (I’m sure some of them are regretting that now), and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote a letter that is difficult to match in hostility. But it wasn’t just Cleveland; the entire country was hating Lebron and the Miami Heat. And instead of winning that first NBA title, LeBron was running for the title of most hated player in all of sports.
But heroes don’t give up, they fight back. LeBron James trained harder, got better, and most impressively: he developed a mentality stronger than Superman, not letting any criticism or hatred hold him back. LeBron got knocked down by Cleveland fans, by the Cavaliers owner, by the Dallas Mavericks and by the entire basketball world. But he got back up and became a champion.
Fighting back from an ugly situation is already worthy of respect, but after getting back up there is another decision to be made: Revenge or forgiveness.
It was easy to say, ‘OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.’ But then you think about the other side. […] Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?
Our movie characters often go for revenge, whether it is Harvey Specter (against any lawyer) or
Jack Sparrow Captain Jack Sparrow (against Barbossa). Hate is easy, love is difficult. But Dumbledore already knew that love always wins, and in the truly beautiful movies there is someone who forgives the person who doesn’t deserve it. Those people are the heroes who can change this world.
3. Asking the right question
While point 1 and 2 are incredibly important, everybody has heard about them at some point (even if most people don’t really live by them). This last one is something that I might just make it my life’s work to promote.
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.
He’s not going to Cleveland because of the money, or because they have the best team. LeBron is going back to Cleveland because that’s his home, and it’s the place where he is needed most. There are multiple reasons for describing Miami as a fun city. Cleveland? Not so much. In 2010, Forbes actually ranked it as the most miserable city in the US! And that was when the Cavaliers were still successful… So when the planet’s best basketball player decides to live in a city of misery instead of chilling in the glamorous heat of Miami, it’s a special story.
Everyone is guided by a story. LeBron’s story is being a kid from Ohio. Our grandparents’ story was about rebuilding a country devastated by war. And what is our story?
What if we make our story more heroic? What if we are the LeBron who goes back to Cleveland to help his city? What if we don’t ask “What do I want?” (to which we often don’t even know the answer anyway), and start asking ourselves “Where am I needed?”