I’ve kept mum on the issue re LeBron leaving Cleveland several months ago, mostly because I didn’t really know what to make of all of it (and let that be a lesson to you young kids. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep your mouth shut).
Growing up, I had always leaned towards independent thought, or the idea that one should make up his own mind, and that right be respected every person. It might seem inconsequential, but that right is the crux of the freedom we enjoy. There will always be people who think they have a better idea what you should do with yourself. They may be right or wrong, but once you are an adult, it is absolutely important that when you’ve made up your mind they respect your decision, however badly it does not sit with them. Once this basic courtesy is accorded upon you, if they continue to wish you the best anyway, it is a great measure of their maturity and wisdom.
Anyway, before I go on, here’s LeBron’s latest video, which sorta got me into the mood I’m in.
So here’s a personal story to highlight a point: When I left my job to ‘pursue my own goals’ a decade ago, I loved my boss for automatically and with zero hesitation, wishing me the best and thanking me for the years I worked there – inspite of the fact that he thought I was an idiot for leaving such a well paying job ‘to pursue my dreams’, and that the company was going to hurt badly for a few months looking for a replacement. Conversely, I had another boss whose first words were to curse faith (and me, just not to my face) that they were losing my position.
Many years later, I promise you I would mow Boss #1’s lawn and paint his house if he asked me to, so great is my respect for him. On the other hand, I saw Boss #2 on the street one day, and I felt a great urge to run over his fat ass.
My situation is, of course, farthest from LeBron in millions of ways, but I certainly understood it from the parallels.
No one, not a single soul in the whole world, would have known what it was going through LeBron’s head other than LeBron. Not even his mom, not his friends, not his then boss, and certainly not the fans who all thought they knew better. Even Bill Simmons in The Book of Basketball got it wrong when he wrote that he thought LeBron wasn’t going to leave Cleveland, and if The Sports Guy gets it wrong you gotta pay attention (I’ll be reviewing that book soon).
What was for sure however, was that he wanted a ring. And that he was sure he wasn’t going to get it in Cleveland.
Now, many months later the proverbial time for pause and reflection on the lessons we’ve learned have come, and retribution is starting to look like James’.
First, his ex boss took it so badly that no doubt, any player would want to think twice before having him as boss, LeBron calibre or not. To this day, I cannot believe any CEO would issue such vitriol. I’ve no doubt that letter will be a fixture in PR or Ethics courses as a study for what idiocy looks like printed on a letterhead.
Secondly, the haters had never looked so stupid and immature. There was even a ‘bonfire’ of sorts, held to burn James’ jerseys – their (expensive) jerseys. On Dec. 2 this year, Cleveland will be hosting Miami and no doubt, same idiots will be cooking some insane stunt again. Just the fact that we are sure of that is an indication of what morons they are.
And finally, the realization that no one really knows if his decision was the right thing to do has hit home. To me, that’s the point of that video. No one knows if Miami has a sure thing, or that Boston or LA would either. A Champion can rise from absolutely nowhere as we all know (that’s why we watch so much of it for Chrissake), and no one knows until the very last game of the 2010-11 Championship if all a team’s efforts were successful or in vain.
The only thing we really can do, is to respect him and his decision. Wrong or not, ‘unacceptable’ as it is to us or not, none of us have the capacity, the audacity to assume we know better. Only James’ knows what’s better. And in the course of respecting him, in the course of realizing and accepting that is the only decent, respectful thing we can do, we gain in wisdom and maturity.