LeBron James is on a revenge tour this season, and he’s not afraid to admit it.
In fact, he has been exceedingly forthright in his feelings for a man that is already normally transparent. With his constant hashtags of #WashedKing and #RevengeSeason, LeBron is reminding the world he heard all of the noise over the offseason, and more than that: do not take greatness for granted.
For 15 and a half years LeBron was a physical specimen like we had never seen. His athleticism, speed, and build allowed him to be a lockdown defender, and when hitting his shots, be virtually unguardable on the other end. And all this talent wasn’t even his favorite or most important attribute. LeBron’s passing has always been his best skill.
When the haters said he wasn’t clutch, he won a couple of rings. When the naysayers said he couldn’t win a ring in Cleveland, he did that too. And when they declared he couldn’t win without a group of stars on his team, he dragged a hapless Cavs team to the Finals.
Then came his move to Los Angeles. Standing with his team fourth in the West at Christmas, LeBron got hurt, and when he returned, he clearly wasn’t himself. The Lakers missed the playoffs, Magic Johnson called an impromptu press conference to resign from the team and then proceeded to trash the organization. Fans and analysts alike speculated on whether the Lakers should even trade LeBron.
Except while the clowns got their shots off at him, LeBron had extra time to rest, rejuvenate, and return for his self-proclaimed revenge tour.
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Here we are today, as the Lakers are the number one team in the league, and LeBron is the clear best player in the league. On the season, he is averaging 25 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 11.1 assists (a career high, and leading the league).
Doubts of whether LeBron could return to MVP form were well-found. We had never seen him injured before, and he is approaching his 35th birthday. Though we had 16 years of watching the King tower over his subjects, to be trepidatious with LeBron wasn’t completely out of bounds.
But the vitriol with which fans and some media members attacked James was extremely odd. Instead of speculating on what he would be, they gleefully and rather openly prayed on his downfall.
And this begs the question: why are so many of us desperate to see the mighty fall? Why can’t we appreciate greatness instead of taking it for granted?
LeBron has told reporters he heard the noise last season and this summer, the comments on his game and most specifically, his defense.
He has been superb on that side of the ball this season.
Year 17. Approaching age 35. 6th most minutes in league history.
LeBron’s efforts off the court somehow outshine even his brightest accolades on it. He started a public elementary school called the I Promise School for at-risk children in his hometown. He co-founded a media company called Uninterrupted to provide a platform for athletes and entertainers to speak on issues bigger than their craft.
There is no shortage of spectacle with LeBron, no shortage of accomplishment, no shortage of history. And it’s not done yet; in some ways, it’s just getting started.
LeBron’s main tagline is #StriveForGreatness, but now he is reminding us of just as important of a phrase: #ValueGreatness.