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.
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?
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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