When you think about great basketball athletes, there’s no doubt that LeBron James crosses your mind pretty quick, if not immediately. James is, without a doubt, one of the greatest NBA players of all time. This 6'8" Ohio native was the youngest player to receive the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and led his team through 10 consecutive division titles. This 4-peat NBA MVP has demonstrated outstanding performances in athletics and continues to inspire us.
Sure, James is a great athlete, and you might be thinking, “How can I aspire to be like James when I’m nowhere near as talented?” Well, I’m going to tell you. The secret to James’ success doesn’t lie within his basketball skills or his advantageous physical qualities (i.e. his muscles and height). James’ success is much simpler than that and, most importantly, anyone can find success by living their life with these tips in mind.
Being versatile is super important in achieving success. How do you think LeBron was able to adapt to so many different coaches, teammates, and styles of playing?
He needed to be able to adapt to all of the changes in his life, no matter what they were, quickly. And not simply just to adapt to it—but embrace it.
LeBron James showed no fear when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers and the comfort of his fans and his hometown to play for Miami Heat. This decision was such a hot topic and James dealt with a lot of unhappy and disappointed fans.
Imagine how scary that must have been. Leaving your hometown and everything that you know and feel comfortable with to take a risk and go play somewhere else. James is really brave and doesn’t let the fear of the unknown or fear of disappointing others stop him.
Shy and James? The two words don’t go together. James hasn’t been timid about expressing his views on social media. After Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012, he didn’t hesitate to express his support.
Let's not forget the video on YouTube (viewed by nearly 33 million people, I might add) where James tackles a fan who sinks a shot. He isn’t afraid to express his emotions, whether that be on social media platforms or by doing grand gestures like freaking out over a pretty hype shot.
James didn’t let anyone stop him from doing what he wanted. He opted out of his contract with the Cavaliers and became an unrestricted free agent. He's also spoken about being humble:
“You know, my family and friends have never been yes-men: ‘Yes, you’re doing theright thing, you’re always right.’ No, they tell me when I’m wrong, and that’s why I’vebeen able to stay who I am and stay humble.”
Aside from being a basketball guru, James devotes his time to helping those who haven't been making ends meet. He uses his generosity to create change in his community.
In 2004, he founded the LeBron James Family Foundation with his mother Gloria to help out children and single-parent families that are in need.
Invest, invest, and, last but not least... invest. James is thinking long-term. He's working with an array of companies and business moguls, including Bubblicious, Cannondale, Beats Electronics, and Jay-Z.
Warren Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, believes that James is "very smart financially" as well.
$440 million. That's James' net worth. It's easy to get distracted by all the zeros and let the success get in your head, right? Well, James doesn't let it. He was raised by a single parent and he described his upbringing as "the bottom" in Akron, Ohio. It was his uncle that taught him the value of money and saving up.
"If they gave me a dollar they'd be like, 'Nephew, just spend 35 cents of it and keep the other 65,'" James said. "So I'm always in my head about saving."
Of course, every now and then, we've all splurged and bought something we don't really need or something too expensive. When those thoughts come creeping in, James tells himself, "[I] don't need it... there's nothing more I could give myself that would make me happier."
Throughout all of James' success, he stays true to who he was before all the fame and fortune. James opened up the first I Promise educational facility with the goal to revolutionize public education. It's a non-charter school that provides students with a bicycle, a Chromebook, access to food, family services, tutors and emotional support and psychological services.
Instead of forgetting all about his childhood, he uses his experiences to grow as a person and to try and give others access to all kinds of opportunities.
At the beginning of James' career, in 2002, he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with his new tattoo that read, "Chosen One." Being in university or working full-time seems like a lot of pressure, but getting previewed on the cover of an elite magazine with the expectation that you're already destined for greatness? Give it a break. How often does that happen? If that isn't a lot of pressure, then we don't know what is.
When things get tough, and they will, because life is not an easy walk in the park, know that you have to keep pushing until you reach your end goal.
James is set to star in the sequel to the famous 1996 hit Space Jam, starring Michael Jordan.
"The Space Jam collaboration is so much more than just me and the Looney Tunes getting together and doing this movie," James said of the film. "It's so much bigger. I'd just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don't just give up on their dreams."
Your dreams and aspirations don't need to wait. Start young. There is no "set" age when you need to begin achieving greatness. The bottom line is: King James does what he wants and he stays real about it. Don’t be afraid to do what you want in life without hesitating or thinking about what other people want from you. Accept criticism and advice from your loved ones, but at the end of the day, it’s your life that you’re living and you need to be happy with your decisions.