What can we learn from the Kings day in court?
Obviously for the last few days, we have seen a barrage of negative activity in the media around Lebron James. Lebron James is one of the greatest athletes of all time. He has been dubbed “the King” by so many for so long. Ever since high school; even before that, in junior high arenas in Ohio were sold out just to get a glimpse of this basketball prodigy. Lebron James has attempted to live up to the king title as evidenced by making it all the way to the NBA finals twice. Even with all of his personal great, winning smile, commoditized image, and philanthropic efforts, LJ still experiences the effects of being one of the most hated and villan-ized athletes of the modern era (just a few points behind Tiger Woods, Michael Vick and Barry Bonds).
How is it that such a celebrated athlete and mogul be so hated, so quickly? I believe it all started when Lebron James “disappeared” in the fourth quarter of the NBA finals while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The questions began to rise by basketball purist about his ability to be compared to the G.O.A.T.’s. After motnhs of melodrama and courting by teams, we witnessed “the decision.” That decision to so publicly and coldly take his talents to South Beach not only angered fans in Cleveland, but attracted in venom from everyday people around the world. When was the last time you and I had a TV show when we decided to change jobs? When was the last time everyone in your profession came to YOUR office in YOUR home town and beg for YOUR services? This brought about a stream of emotions, and isolated “the king” from his once loyal subjects.
The following season, after all of the celebrations, cocky commercials, and clever ploys; Lebron and his star-mates in Miami failed to accomplish the goal that separates legends from losers: Winning the NBA World Championship. The post-game press conference following game 6 put LJ back into venom’s way. There are a few lessons we can learn from Lebron’s loss in the NBA finals this year against the Dallas Mavericks. Unfortunately the lessons we learn are not lessons from the basketball court, but lessons for leaders; especially young leaders with great talent.
1. Know the nature and meaning of winning,
I believe that God has given each of us talents (gifts). Talents are those things, those ways of being and doing that are supernatural. Some are talented relationship builders, some of us have great skills in strategic thinking; others have been endowed with a certain kind of ‘charisma’ or ‘woo’ factor. Whatever our talent is, when we tap into it, and use it in the presence of others; it’s evidentiary. Everyone knows that you are there, and that’s your talent or gift. You will outperform your peers regularly when the talents that you possess match the talents required. Also, when you know your talent and use it in the appropriate space; YOU WILL WIN! How do you lose when you are using supernatural gifts in the midst of human advantages? You can’t. LJ has Talents. If he didn’t, his brand would not be what it is today. Because LJ used his talents and won on so many fronts, people who have not yet seen the exponential potential of their own talent begin to have natural feelings of jealousy and envy.
If you are a young leader in your chosen field, and you know your talent, and it matches the talents required; chances are…you are winning. If you are winning, chances are…everyone is not happy about that. As leaders, we have to know that our success does not make everyone around us happy. DEAL WITH IT! If everyone could do what you do, then why are you necessary? We have to learn what Lebron is learning now, greatness is not always met with praise.
2. know the nature and meaning of losing,
Just as a point of reminder; THE DALLAS MAVERICKS ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!! Why is that not the point of discussion? Why is the entire mediated world fixated on LJ’s loss as opposed to Dallas’ win? Because when you strive for greatness, and let everyone know it, many people will invest their energies or lack thereof to into your failure. People though that LJ’s decision, and the stacking of the Heat team violated many of the “fairness rules”. LJ was fair in his choice, as was Cleveland, however, when you win and tell people that you are going to win; people can’t wait to see you lose.
3. Embrace the power of mentoring/coaching in your life.
Hind sight is 20/20. I am certain, even if LJ wouldn’t admit it; he would take a different approach to many of the significant media ‘lightning rod’ moments that he experienced this past calendar year. However, if you look at LJ’s team, his advisors, and friends…they are all young and or behind him in age and experience. He has chosen to surround himself exclusively with his peer group. That’s great for high school, however, when leadership and savvy are consistently required of you, you must embrace and intentionally invite seasoned leaders into your life. A seasoned leader adds wisdom to our knowledge. There’s a saying that ‘knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it into a fruit smoothie.’
Wisdom comes from experience. Experience comes with time. LJ would be well suited to add some ‘wisdom’ to his team. I’ve gotta give a shout out to one of my mentor/coaches who reminded me of the following clip from “First Sunday” when discussing wise points with me……
Although LeeJohn’s mother’s story was wrought with indiscretions, wisdom would have told him to tone the story down…Now, Let’s look at the King….
After all of the Hater-Aid that was thrown LJ’s way, i’m certain he felt that way; however, a seasoned coach would have shared with him, through their own lived experiences that there are sacrifices that must be made by leaders; even if you don’t FEEL like sacrificing.
If I have had an accelerated leadership path, I owe it to seasoned leaders who have invested, poured, and seeded to me the knowledge of my talent, the understanding of winning and losing, and the ability to expand my influence by expanding my influencers.
Peace, Blessings, and Wisdom…
Make careful comparisons of yourself, others will NOT be so careful