Author: Stephanie Hoff
With ‘The King’ exiting his prime, retirement may be in the near future. However, the four-time MVP, nine consecutive final appearances, and the numerous All-Star games are small accomplishments of a broader legacy. When the NBA loses LeBron James, they are losing more than an on-court star. What most people don’t think of is LeBron James’ off-the-court impact.
Take a look at the media: every time you tune into the news or ESPN, there is always another athlete in trouble and fired from their sports league. Why hasn’t LeBron been under any scrutiny? Well, because he isn’t one to stir trouble. Starting at the age of sixteen, his face was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Every day this man is in the spotlight, and he sets the bar higher for the next athletes to follow.
LeBron James demonstrates outstanding perseverance and strength. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He hasn’t always lived in a luxury house – or a house at all. He grew up with a single mother and the rent wasn’t always the first priority. Basketball was LeBron James’ saving grace. It was his home. He was able to stay the night at friends’ houses after games and practices. And throughout all of the hardship, there was always a smile on his face. With or without basketball, friends and family say that he is one of the happiest people around. The struggles he went through at a young age showed him what he didn’t want in the future – it pushed him to be the best. Today, LeBron James is the vice president of the NBA and helps younger athletes find their way through the pressures of being professional players.
Devotion has been a common theme throughout LeBron James’ life. He married his high school sweet heart, Savanah, in 2012 and has remained devoted to her and his family ever since. He’s also shown immense devotion to the sport. He was drafted by his home state, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in 2003. He promised that he would bring Cleveland its first title and he did in 2015. This devotion to his career and family has done more than just added to his legacy, it also has made him a role model to his fans and community. He left Cleveland in 2018 for the Los Angeles Lakers. His main goal is to watch his two boys and daughter grow up. However, Cleveland his still close to his heart and he goes back there to visit family and for his businesses.
LeBron James’ charitable image is notable. The new I Promise School in Akron Ohio was a hot topic on the news this past spring. This school is home to 2,000 inner-city kids and provides them with a free education. He also provides scholarships to every student that graduates from the I Promise School. LeBron James is a believer in the college education system and he partnered with Akron University to provide 2,300 scholarships. Where is this money coming from? Well, “The King’s” pockets.
It’s hard for me to imagine any other player that can reach the bar that Lebron James has set for sheer athleticism, devotion to family and sport, outstanding behavior, and charitable giving. Let’s hope retirement is far out for The King of Basketball.