Good on you, Lebron
By Bart D.
On Twitter @TheCoachBart
Cue the old Puff Daddy “I’m Coming Home” tune …
We all “get it” at some point, often far too late to do anything but realize it. I remember when I was when I “got it,” but I’m not famous so who cares. Lebron James is famous, perhaps the most famous athlete in the world. And at some point, “he got it.” Good for him.
James’ announcement of going back to Cleveland in a soulful essay that looked like he dug up Hemingway and asked him to help was perfection, especially after The Decision Debacle of four years ago. Nothing flashy, just a personally written letter when no one was expecting it.
I was on the golf course this week thinking about hovering around the television that night, immature enough in my own right to not realize what was going on. Here was a guy, unmarried, been in the Midwest his entire life, with a shot to go to sunny Miami and hang out with his two mid-late 20’s unmarried best friends and play basketball.
Stepping back, I thought, at 25, it probably seemed like one heck of a fun idea. At 30, not so much. You wake up one day sore of the parties, the scene, the 3 a.m.’s out late and the noons waking up. We all do at some point, be it at 21, 31, or 51.
But we expect more out of our athletes than is fair probably, whereas Ron Artest is supposed to show restraint when booze is thrown at his face, maybe read from the Book of Acts, we’re allowed to make that designation never thinking about what we’d do if someone came into our job and tossed a glass of vodka in our faces unexpectedly.
James essay was so beautifully perfect, it almost didn’t seem real. Really, his entire off season has been that way, from keeping quiet, to tossing out the news at the most nondescript time of all … a Friday afternoon before he jetted off to Brazil for the World Cup.
The letter was a baring into his soul, and left no room for media to do anything but look like fools for running language about a letter from Cavs owner Dan Gilbert written in forlorn lover fury as an obstacle or saying that James and Gilbert had never met.
James, followed around with a microscope from some and an autograph pad and pen from others since he was 16, played the game perfectly and did it on his own terms by his own rules, leaving nothing to the proverbial imagination.
What Lebron James’ moment of “getting it” really was, we’ll never know. For some of us, it’s a bad doctor appointment, watching a loved one slip away, a hug from child to parent for the first time, a conversation, a failure, it can come in many ways, shapes and forms.
Everything everyone wanted Lebron James to be all these years … turns out he was … we just didn’t know it, and he had to find it on his own time.
I’m rooting for the guy to win a few rings in Cleveland from here on out. The same way I root for a poor guy to win the lottery and be set for life, the unemployed to get a job sometimes at the expense of the already employed candidate, the way you root for good things to happen because sometimes it feels good to watch from afar.
Good for you, Lebron James. Growing up isn’t easy, and it isn’t mandatory. Only growing old is. Epiphany isn’t guaranteed, only the opportunity to experience it if your heart searches hard enough.
Every game, James wears bands that say “I Promise.” Every game, a different one, for a charity he runs back home in Akron. Years ago, Lebron promised a title to Cleveland. Years ago, he didn’t understand that he could be loathed, always able to out-talent anyone who pushed back because too many others liked him enough or just wanted to be around him.
Promises aren’t always meant to be kept that day, that week, that year. The point is keeping them, whenever you choose to. You can always go home again. It’s never too late to “get it.” Good on you, Lebron James. Good on you.