There’s no question that Lebron James is a great basketball player. Hands down he will be among the greats of all times. Some would contend that he is the best player ever. That’s beyond my pay grade to decide.
HIs skills, toughness, and resiliency are of the highest admiration. Hands down, he is one of, if not, the best in these areas.
Every team he’s played on has been better because of his presence. He elevates the players around him. He is looked up to as a leader by his teammates, aspiring basketball players, and fans.
The label is given to him as “king” is indicative of the reverence others have of him. And he does not shy away from seeing himself as such.
One of my favorite quotes is: “to whom much is given, much is expected.” He has been given much as it relates to adoration, skills, and not to mention, dollars. Much should be required of him. He is an influencer.
With influence comes great responsibility. Some people will eschew this because they feel it’s an imposition on them, which they might not be ready for or even want.
One of the responsibilities is to model behaviors that can have a positive impact on others especially the young. This I where I believe he has failed to deliver especially in the following three areas.
IN THE AREA OF DISRESPECT
This is one of the areas I believe Lebron has failed namely his disrespect for the Occupant of, and the office of, the presidency of the United States – the highest office of authority in the land.
In recent times Lebron has tweeted and publicly made derogatory remarks to the President of the United States of America. This is the highest office in the land which is worthy of our respect regardless of who occupies it and how we might feel about them.
He has engaged in making statements about the president as if they are equals. It’s as if he was speaking to one of his “boys.”
I believe it is one’s right to not agree with everyone, even the President of the United States. That is one of the freedom we enjoy in the United States – the freedom of speech. However, we need to find a more productive way to express our disagreement.
What Lebron has done and is doing, is in no way productive. It only incites disrespect by others especially the most vulnerable – young fans who look up to him.
IN THE AREA OF COMMUNICATING HIS DISAGREEMENT
He, as everyone else, has a right to his opinions and should be able to disagree with anyone who is out alignment with his or her particular belief.
However, even if we don’t agree with others, there is a way to go about communicating our disagreement.
As a coach and Marriage and Family Therapist, one of the most frequently presented requests for help that I’ve received over the years is in the area of communication.
Most of the complaints are about disrespectful communication. Everyone wants to be heard and understood and to be spoken to in a way that is respectful.
It’s difficult for listening to take place when disrespect is present. One finds it difficult to hear above the noise of the disrespect.
Even though Lebron may have some legitimate concerns with the president or with his policies and wants to be heard, I believe he’s done himself a disservice in the manner in which he has gone about it. It’s hard to hear what the grievance is when disrespect shouts so loudly.
Speaking to the president in a disrespectful way is not becoming of someone who has such influence and power. Name calling is one of the quickest ways to not be heard.
This is one more area in which he has failed.
IN THE AREA OF BEING A ROLE MODEL
His young admirers who see this behavior thinks it’s okay to behave disrespectfully to someone in authority simply because you do not agree with them.
I wonder what he would do if his kids didn’t agree with him on any issue and decided to take their disagreement to Social Media or any another public platform and dissed him? I don’t think he would be too happy with that and then again, I might be making a wrong assumption.
One thing I’ve learned as a parent is that lessons are easier caught than taught. And if he thinks his children will not learn from his behavior, he’s disillusioned.
Another saying that I’ve learned and have seen in so many families, is that “apples don’t fall too far from the tree.”
It’s sad to see other players who respect Lebron and don’t want to “upset” him joining in this kind of behavior.
This is disheartening. I hope Lebron can recognize these failures and remedy them as quickly as possible. It’s not too late. He can still disagree but do so respectfully.
That’s the mark of a great leader and one who is worthy of the “king” label.