LeBron James: The epitome of being 'More than an athlete'
LeBron James is entering year 16 of his NBA career and it is safe to say that he has achieved all there is on the court, establishing himself as the best player of his generation and one of the best players of all time. Although his excellence in the game is unparalleled, it is not the only factor contributing to his greatness as a supreme sports personality.
Inspiration from his story of adversity:
LeBron James grew up without a father. He didn't have a stable home, often moving from place to place facing a tough childhood. As a high school junior, LeBron was incredible at basketball and was the most hyped player in the world. He made the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 17 and ended up being drafted as the number one pick by a hapless Cleveland Cavaliers franchise.
In addition to that, he was expected to be a part of ending the long sports drought in Cleveland that spanned over half a century. No player in the history of the sport has been under the level of scrutiny as LeBron has, at such a young age.
With all this pressure, he managed to exceed expectations and achieve all that he has, doing things the right way and serving as a role model to so many people. His story is an inspiration to young children right now and will continue to be for many more years to come.
LeBron has not been shy in expressing his socio-political views, using his platform to provide his perspective. He has spoken out on issues such as discrimination, racial injustice and freedom of speech on multiple occasions, often taking stances against powerful people, the President of the United States for example.
He is following in the footsteps of some of the most prominent social activists in sports history like Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown, and his actions have inspired several other athletes to voice their opinion.
LeBron has had immense success with investments in Beats, Blaze Pizza, Liverpool Football Club and social podcast series Uninterrupted. He has a lifetime deal with Nike, and his King James shoe brand is very popular, second only to Air Jordan. He has established himself as an astute businessman, paving the way for future stars. It is an accomplishment after all when Warren Buffett says that LeBron has a 'money mind'.
With all this financial success, he has managed to be humble and charitable. He has contributed a lot in terms of scholarships to kids in Akron. He's set up basketball camps for young athletes all across America. Just recently, he helped open the I Promise School for at-risk children, with plans to expand in the next few years. He has also done a lot for the community of Akron, in efforts to make it a safe place.
Player mobility and control:
LeBron played a huge role in enabling player mobility in the NBA. He has helped in transferring power from teams to players. Many players have benefited from this with Kevin Durant being the most recent example. He also played a role in the way contracts are set up, especially with the player-option clause. He has done so much for the league and the players, emulating some of the greats like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.
All these factors contribute collectively to LeBron's greatness. He has shown that players can be more than athletes and rise above the common misconception. They have the chance to establish themselves as sports personalities as LeBron has.