I will admit I was one of those Lebron James haters cheering for the Oklahoma City Thunder to beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. I cringed at James’ decision to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach to ultimately complete a dream team.
While we haters have a bitter taste in our mouths, there is still a lesson to be learned as James earned the coveted World Championship ring:
Most people do not have what it takes to become great.
Too often people hold onto the blind allegiance of family, friends and their comfort zone. We have evolved into a society that would rather not ponder the questions of purpose, destiny, faith, unintended consequences and self-accountability.
There are so many instances in the black community where the blame game is a summer afternoon full-court basketball contest – as soon as it gets too hot, game over! So many of us look to the skies in silent prayer when we’ve already been equipped with the answers. The mental and physical determination of athletes around the world shows us what we can become. The legacy of social justice fighters during the slavery and Jim Crow era stand as a testament to broken barriers and shattered glass ceilings if we commit to a unified agenda.
Some of us are so content to sit on the sideline and hate without offering an ounce of help or support. Those same haters come back around when there is something to be gained or cheered. Those are the fake, fair-weather, bandwagon-jumping, spineless, fish-in-a-school, shady folk who wait for the crowd to stand before waving.
I don’t pretend to know James, but I would venture to say leaving behind a city that rolled out the red carpet wasn’t easy. Maybe family and friends were some of those doubters and haters, but the closer the realization of a dream came, they began to chant his name as if they were in the gym while he was working on his jump shot.
I would even venture to say that a lot of the black community is unwilling to stand up for what they secretly believe in because they can’t handle the pressure of hate and criticism – to be mocked for what you believe in your soul to be right.
They can’t stand in a silent dark room alone with only the voice of self-reassurance driving them. They can’t fathom what it is to be filled with self-doubt and not much support, but using your work ethic to stay focused – the feeling of never having a comfort zone because there is so much more at stake than a championship banner.
Glory is never the companion of the comfortable.
No, those are the people who taunt others for being different, for having the tenacity to abandon everything to go in search of a dream. They are the bullies who expect you to forgive and befriend them.
This is what I learned from James: You do whatever it takes. You abandon the criticism, the naysayers that doubted your birthright, the friends you left behind. You search for a glory that none can take. You become engraved in history. You become a champion.
And I still boo the Heat.
Get well, Derrick Rose.