As the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers roll into the 2017 NBA finals, one man remains a prominent piece of the puzzle. His name is LeBron James. On course for his 7th straight NBA finals appearance, at 32 years of age LeBron has been playing some of the best basketball of his story-book career. Some could say he was destined to be a basketball great. Known, as the “Chosen One” since high school, James chose to forgo the opportunity to develop his game at the College level to go straight into the NBA. The observer can note that James knew his purpose early in life. James decided to follow his own path and pursue greatness instead of polishing his game at the division I level, as so many do. With so much expectation- he has been compared to Michael Jordan from the get-go-it is difficult to fathom how James has been so consistent and impervious to pressure. On such a matter James is quoted as saying, “There is a lot of pressure on me, but I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel if I play my game it will take care of itself”. It is clear that this has been his mantra since a young age, because ever since his introduction into the NBA in 2003, he has been a perennial impact player. James is a testament to the fact passion, purpose, confidence and work-ethic, are the essential facets of character that get results. James has been able to deal with insurmountable pressure by focusing on himself, and on what he can control-his mentality and his game.
However, LeBron Career has not been devoid of struggle. Following the 2011 Miami Heat loss to the Dallas Mavericks-Post James infamous “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” announcement- he stated the following: “you can never hang your head low when you know how much work, how much dedication you put into the game of basketball when the lights are off and the cameras are not on”. In addition to having unmatched talent, James has an unmatched work-ethic as well, dedicating countless hours to perfect his craft. He also has the attitude of a born winner, even after a loss. To LeBron and many other champions, a loss cannot occur when one dedicates themselves entirely to their craft. Despite the public bashing, the ridicule, and the spite he received from his critics, James knew that the finals loss was a mere setback. His passion and focus was reignited as a result, and was harnessed to lead the Miami Heat and James to two consecutive championships in 2011 to 2013.
Following his return to Cleveland in 2014, James was once again under pressure from fans and critics alike. Despite carrying the Cavaliers to the NBA finals, James finished third in MVP voting, with sharp shooter Stephen Curry winning the honors. Following a game 5 finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Cavaliers went down 3-2 in the series and the heat was once again turned up on LeBron. When asked what made LeBron Confident about Cleveland’s chances to turn the series around, his response, “I feel confident because I’m the best player in the world” resounded across the sports stratosphere. Despite his team being a game away from losing the NBA finals, despite the fact that he finished third in league MVP voting, despite the fact that he was being ridiculed by critics, LeBron remained unshakable in his self-belief. Such a statement was not a mere affirmation. Neither did it come from a place of arrogance. His confidence in his skill and his passion for the game never dithered. The Cavaliers went on to lose game 6 to the Golden State Warriors, however it is evident that the series loss was instrumental in motivating LeBron to come back stronger the following season. LeBron was offensively and defensively essential throughout the entire playoffs, elevating his game to unparalleled heights. With the help of key team members: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and J.R. Smith, LeBron and the Cavaliers were able to win their first NBA championship, with James winning his third finals most valuable player honors.
After another stellar season, the Cavaliers are slated to face the Golden State Warriors in their third consecutive NBA finals. Following the Cavaliers most recent game 5 Eastern Conference win over the Boston Celtics, James recently passed Michael Jordan-The Greatest basketball player of all time- in playoff scoring. What does this say about LeBron? From an evaluative perspective, it speaks to the fact that perhaps he was destined for greatness. Perhaps he was made to play basketball and excel at it. Or perhaps he is a testament to the power of self-belief, passion, focus, and drive. Perhaps he figured it all out in his teen years and has been guided by the principals that he established then, ever since. “when the lights are off and the cameras aren’t on”, you can bet on the fact that LeBron is perfecting his craft. LeBron’s storied career can teach us all a lesson. Having high personal standards of performance, while maintaining a high degree of self-belief, and perfecting ones craft will serve you well. All while not being too critical of yourself and accepting the inevitable loses as they come, and being self-motivated and passionate about your craft. If you have any doubt about this, take a look at LeBron’s career.
Author Bio: Hassan Abdul
Hassan Abdul is a student of Philosophy from Queen’s University. He is an avid student of self-improvement and self-empowerment. Additionally he is a sports fanatic, with a primary love of soccer and Real Madrid and Football and the Baltimore Ravens. His hobbies include cycling, meditation, watching any type of sporting event, and reading or debating about Philosophical concepts.