“Don’t become the best basketball player on the planet, be bigger than basketball”
“We’re all just a kid from somewhere.” Seven words that can resonate with so many people. These words are from a Powerade ad a couple of years back, reflecting on Derrick Rose’s journey from a kid in Chicago to a star for his hometown Chicago Bulls. As a kid growing up, it’s your dream to play a professional sport for your hometown, regardless of where that is, or what sport it is. In 2003, a kid named Lebron James achieved that dream. Coming straight out of St.Vincent-St. Mary high school, he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers first overall. As a kid from Akron, Ohio, it was a dream come true to play for the Cavs.
Throughout his glorious career, Lebron has achieved so much. 4x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 3x NBA Champion, 14x NBA All-Star, 2004 Rookie of the Year, 2 Olympic Gold Medals, just to name a few of his accomplishments. In a career spanning 16 years, Lebron is still going strong, having recently signed with the Los Angeles Lakers this past summer. Having played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, U.S.A. National Team, and now the Lakers, he has experienced and accomplished so much. Lebron is always compared to the likes of Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan, and rightfully so. The two are very similar and the G.O.A.T (“Greatest of All Time”) debate will continue for many years. Coming off a season where he averaged 27.5 ppg, 9.1 apg, and 8.6 rpg, its safe to say he’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Lebron James is usually seen as the “face of the NBA.” He is currently the Vice President on the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Along with his long-time friend Chris Paul, who is the President, they represent the players’ union. Lebron is known to have many close connections in the basketball world. He is very good friends with fellow 2003 draftees Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, as well as Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul. Lebron played with Wade for 4 years during his time with the Heat and briefly during the 2017-18 season with the Cavs. Lebron has consistently named the best player in the NBA by both ESPN and Sports Illustrated for the past 7 years. He usually has the highest player rating in the video game NBA2K each year.
Lebron has always been more than an athlete. Recently, he’s been doing some amazing things off of the court. However, this isn’t entirely new for him. Since 2005, he has helped run the Lebron James Family Foundation, which is a charity based in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Their mission is to help raise money for various causes. In 2015, his foundation partnered with the University of Akron to help provide scholarships for over 2,000 children. In 2017, Lebron was given the approval to open to “ I Promise School,” a public elementary school that would help lower income families keep their children in school and get the proper education they need/deserve. This school officially opened up in July of 2018. This would be a feat that Lebron would refer to as, “His greatest professional accomplishment.”
Outside of the court, Lebron is perhaps the most marketable athlete in the world. He has endorsed a number of companies and products. A few examples include Mcdonald’s, State Farm, Beats by Dre, and of course Nike, to which he has a lifetime contract rumored to be worth $1 billion. His shoe deal with Nike is one of the company’s most profitable kicks. Lebron co-hosted the 2007 ESPYs awards with Jimmy Kimmel and also hosted the 33rd season premiere of Saturday Night Live, which goes to show that Lebron’s talents aren’t just limited to playing basketball. His venture into the world of Hollywood has not been limited to hosting a coupe of late night shows. In 2015, he played himself in the film Trainwreck and is rumored to be in a starring role for a potential Space Jam sequel.
Lebron has also used his platform to advocate for various causes, especially non-profit organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He has also taken stances regarding manycontroversial topics facing the country the past few years. A few examples of this include the Trayvon Martin case, the Michael Brown verdict, and former NBA owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments a couple years back. He has also ventured into the political world. He endorsed Barack Obama during his first time running for president, and most recently endorsed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Election. Lebron has used his platform to speak out against Donald Trump in regards to certain topics as well. He sided with Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry after Trump rescinded the teams invitation to the White House following their championship victory. During a 2018 interview with CNN reporter Don Lemon, Lebron further made his stance regarding the President known. He went on record to say that Trump was using sports as a way to divide the nation. This refers to the ongoing “national anthem controversy” that the NFL has been dealing with.
Piggybacking off of that topic, Lebron was told by Fox reporter Laura Ingraham to “shut up and dribble.” This coming after everything James has spoken up for in the political world. This sparked an idea inside of Lebron’s mind He decided to start a documentary series called “Shut Up & Dribble” on Showtime. This will revolve around the vastly changing role that athletes play in the current political and cultural world. Further expanding Lebron’s platform to reach a wider audience. Besides an athlete, Lebron is also a husband and father. He married is high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson in 2013. The two have 3 children, the eldest being Lebron James Jr. who at just 14 is already receiving Division-1 scholarship offers. His family has usually moved with Lebron, having recently purchased a home in Los Angeles after Lebron signed with the Lakers.
Lebron James is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. Very few people will ever come close to what Lebron has become. However, at the end of his career, Lebron will be remembered for way more than what he’s done on the court. His political activism, charity work, acting career, and family life will be mentioned along with that. With his 16 NBA season underway, the sky’s the limit for him. Who knows what’s next for Lebron? It’ll be very interesting to see exactly what he’ll accomplish in the near future. One thing is for certain though, Lebron will always be bigger than basketball.
Written by Matt