LeBron James' letter: great PR or a new take on greatness?

Nick Olson

Nick Olson
July 16, 2014

LeBron James' announcement that he was returning to the Cavs was carefully crafted, but it also redefines what counts as a significant legacy.

Branson Parler
July 17, 2014

Michael Jordan was my idol growing up, but this gives some good food for thought. I may have to consider whether I don't like LeBron because he's LeBron or because I'm afraid LeBron will challenge my Nike-induced image of Michael Jordan when, by all accounts, the real MJ is as big a jerk as he was a star. I wonder if LeBron and MJ switched the time periods in which they played whether we'd all be a lot more cynical about Jordan. It's the shoes? Really?

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
July 17, 2014

I grew up a Bulls/Jordan fan too, Branson, and fully admit that this has warped my critical, cynical (unChristian?) take on LeBron for much of his career (something I wrestled with earlier on TC here). In that sense, Nick's piece is a helpful corrective.

In an earlier version of this post, Nick pointed out that the apparent deference LeBron exhibits with his letter can also be seen in his playing style - he's a brilliant passer along with everything else, and has never, naturally been a "me-first" player. I think that does lend some authenticity to the letter. Now, whether or not his move to Cleveland is really a sacrifice is another discussion - I'd argue the youthful team there is better set up to win a string of championships than the aging group he was with in Miami.

To bring this back to TC territory, though, I do wonder how Christians should define athletic greatness. Off-court/field conduct? A style of play that exhibits community and sacrifice? The same way as the rest of the world: by championships? Nick hints at a counter-cultural measurement that I'd like to believe in.

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