Regardless of whether you love him or hate him, Lebron James has set the standard for athletes on and off the court. All eyes have been on Lebron since his high school days playing at St. Vincent- St. Mary with almost insurmountable expectations bestowed upon him. He was deemed The Chosen One, a nickname that was given to him when he was only a high school junior already on the cover of Sports Illustrated. And yet, he exceeded every seemingly impossible expectation that was given to him. In a 2018 interview then head coach of the Los Angles Clippers Doc Rivers said about Lebron James and the expectations he was given entering the league as an 18-year-old, “I think he has overachieved. I don’t think there has ever been a player that had as much buildup as him coming into the league. And he keeps getting better.”
Throughout his career, Lebron James has plastered his name all throughout the NBA record book. He is a 4x NBA Champion, a 4x NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, a 4x NBA Most Valuable Player, a 17x NBA All-Star and a 16x All-NBA selection. He is the only player in NBA history to record at least 35,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, and 9,000 assists. Only player in NBA history to average at least 25 points per game for 15 consecutive seasons. He is the only player in NBA history to lead both teams in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals in a playoff series. Lebron has the most playoff games with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Lebron is currently 3rd in career points (35,236) and 1st in career playoff points (7,491). The list goes on.
Even with everything Lebron has achieved on the court, some of his greatest accomplishments have come off the court. Using his platform, Lebron James has become a voice for political and social issues for African Americans. Lebron helped form “More Than a Vote”, a group dedicated to mobilizing African American voters and fighting voter suppression. Back in 2018, Lebron and the Lebron James Family Foundation opened the, I Promise School, a public school in Akron, Ohio aimed to help the at-risk children in the community receive a full education. This school also provides services to the families of the children who attend this school such as finding a job and an on-site food bank. Lebron knows the responsibility he has to not only entertain us on the court but help and be a role model for those who need it. “Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognize me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball, but the way I approached life as an African American man,” Lebron told The New York Times.
Given everything he’s done, this is my thank you letter to Lebron James:
Throughout your career you have demonstrated to all of us watching on how an athlete should carry themselves. Never once have you done anything to make anyone question your role as a leader or done anything to jeopardize your status as a role model. Thank you for your worth ethic and continuing to show us that we can always become better. Thank you for using your platform to help those who need it and for being the voice for those who don’t have one. Thank you for showing us that there is always time to be a good parent even when you’re dedicated to your craft. Thank you for giving back to your community and not forgetting where you came from and those who helped you along the way.
Thank you for being more than an athlete.