I sat in front of the TV last night with millions of others across the U.S. awaiting Lebron’s “decision.” And I’ll be the first to admit that I had a knot in my stomach that continued to grow as “d”-time approached. And after the announcement? Simply disappointment . . . deep disappointment.
Why so much disappointment in Mr. James’ exercise of his free will? A couple of underlying reasons (I believe) if we will dive deeply enough.
First, I believe at some level all of us Cleveland fans wanted Lebron to to do what we considered to be the “right thing.” Not the right thing for his career, nor the right step to secure a bigger paycheck. Not the right thing to win a championship nor even to assure his status as the greatest basketball player to ever step on the court. The “right thing” was to stay. To openly proclaim that even though he could move to a bigger market, Cleveland’s depressed economy needed him more. To value living amidst family and friends more than global accolades and achievements. Rather than to say “I want to ensure my happiness” to demonstrate before millions that the importance of others really does matter.
But Lebron is Lebron, a superstar in the NBA at 25 years of age. I understand why he went . . . but I’m still disappointed.
And here’s why it disappoints so many of us so deeply . . .
I believe we are all “wired” with an inherent knowledge of what is right and good and true. That we know self-sacrifice is the greatest statement of character an individual can ever make. We know this because we have the example of Jesus who didn’t say, “This will make me happy” to His Father in Heaven and then head in the opposite direction of the cross. Jesus willingly laid down His life for us all. And so . . . each of us has this imprint from God that causes us to desperately desire a life lived rightly . . . but that life will only fully ever be lived by one person–Jesus. No athletic superstar, not your spouse, no Pastor or close friend will ever be the Messiah–not even Lebron–there is only One and our trust must be in Him.
Second, in our culture today, we follow superstar personalities with religious fervor. Our faith is in our team. We “witness” Lebron, the “Chosen One,” the “King.” And people will always let us down. If we place our faith or our hope in a personality we will always be disappointed . . . deeply.
The Psalms tell us that some trust in horses or in chariots (or in NBA MVPs), but my hope is in you alone, O’ my God.
When will Cleveland, all of Northeast Ohio, the entire United States of America cease to be disappointed? When we realize that people are people and that superstar athletes are no exception. That there is only One we can fully trust, in whom we can fully place our faith, who is worthy of our hope . . . And He is the Chosen One to whom we bear witness . . . the King–Jesus.
So Lebron, from one deeply disappointed Cavaliers fan, I am saddened by your departure . . . but it has been fun. May God bless you on your journey and draw you close to His heart. You will be missed, but fortunately only for the entertainment value that you brought into my life. My hope, my trust, my faith (all that really matters) is in my God.