LeBron James Doesn't Owe You Anything

LeBron James Doesn't Owe You Anything

He doesn't have to stay. But we hope he will.

As the NBA finals wind down you can notice an increase in jersey sales, or at least jersey wearing. Little kids claim that one day they'll grow up to be just like their favorite player and we let them. We idolize the players we love and we condemn the ones we hate (sorry, KD, but a lot of people are going to act like we don't see that ring). There are rumors, as there always are, that LeBron James is leaving Cleveland again.

LeBron James, now in his fourteenth year in the league, has made an empire for himself. And it's been nothing short of a miracle. When he was eighteen years old, barely legal to vote, he was drafted into the NBA and given a three-year, $12.96 million rookie contract. Not only was he set free in the world with all that money, but the knowledge that he now had people watching him. When LeBron left Cleveland in 2010 people were furious. They took to the streets burning his jerseys, almost rioting at the fact that their hero dared to abandon them.

Now, on the heels of bringing the Cavaliers their first ever championship in 2016, and getting them to the Finals again in 2017, there is talk of LeBron leaving again. The very mention of it puts people on edge and although as a city, we hope to keep LeBron as long as he'll have us, he has my blessing to do what he thinks is best for him.

Charles Barkley once said, "I'm not a role model... Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids." And I think that it's a good reminder of who these players really are. They are not superheroes, they are not legends. They are men, with families and private lives. They are people, not just spectacles.

LeBron James isn't here to raise your children or to teach them right from wrong. He'll raise his own kids, he'll live his own life. But being part of a sports team does not make you a saint, and it does not make you public property. LeBron never asked for my blessing, and he doesn't need it, because he's a grown man who doesn't owe me anything.

Cover Image Credit: hkk96 / Flickr

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There Is No Better Feeling Than Stepping On The Field

When the whistle blows, nothing else matters.

It begins the second you step foot off the bus.

Everyone has their headphones on listening to their favorite pre-game playlist. The freshmen are grabbing the water and other equipment. The whole team is in matching warm-ups, looking game ready.

When you enter the locker room, the intensity changes. We come together as a team. We discuss our plan of attack. We hype each other up. We put on our uniforms with the intention of making our school proud tonight. We are almost ready.

Warm up is important. Its time to get focused. Every pass, every touch, every shot counts. Get the jitters out now because the second that whistle blows, nothing else matters.

Game time.

This is it. This is what you have been preparing all week in practice for. This is what your coaches have been getting you ready for. This is when you get to show your school how hard you've been working. This is when all the extra time and preparation you have put in will finally pay off.

Nothing else matters.

When you step foot on the field, you forget everything that is going on in your life and you just play. You forget about the test that you have been stressing all week about. You forget about the shots you missed during warmup. You forget about the tension that was lingering at practice.

The only thing that matters is the game.

There is no better feeling than standing in your position and hearing the whistle blow. Everything else fades away and it is just you and the goal.

Cover Image Credit: Janelle Healy

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Tiger Woods May Be An Unlikely Childhood Hero, But He's Still Mine

I remember it so vividly, the moment I fell in love with Tiger.

In recent weeks, I have written a few sports articles that have turned some heads, raised eyebrows and even caused a few heated debates. Is it because I am trying to agitate people and create a riot? The answer is no. Is it because I have fallen in love with a few underappreciated sports teams and heroes? The answer is yes.

So without further ado, I present another bold sports statement that you may not agree with, however, it resonates very well with me: Growing up, my favorite athlete was and still is Tiger Woods.

I remember it so vividly, the moment I fell in love with Tiger.

I was sitting on my parents' bed watching the Masters. It’s 2005 and Tiger is wearing his “Sunday red” which essentially meant that he was in contention to win the moment he stepped onto the golf course that day. He’s hooked a tee shot about 30 feet past the hole onto a fringe of thick rough. It’s the 16th hole of Augusta National, one of the most famous golf holes in the world. Woods spent about 15 minutes with his caddy surveying the land, trying to find the right line and scrupulously scoping out the best approach to take.

Then he walked up to the ball, took a hefty swing and the rest was history.

This famous chip shot took place on the biggest stage of professional golf and only one man, to say it candidly, had the balls to go for it.

This heightened confidence and ability to be fearless with a golf shot that had more downside than it did up, was what roped me into forever loving this iconic athlete.

From then on out I was hooked on Tiger Woods. I was enamored by his poise and laser focus. I remember watching how comfortable and relaxed he looked, despite playing in front of large audiences. He was always able to block out the noise and hype that followed him, and when a shot mattered most, he was going to sink it into the cup and flash his signature uppercut fist pump.

As a kid, I wanted to be just like Tiger. Whenever I would score a goal in little league soccer or make a basket I would imitate his fist pump and yell. I wanted to be a ferocious competitor and a winner just like he was in his prime. I wanted to emulate his ability to stay focused and block out any outside pressures.

And I wanted to be the greatest of all time, just like he is.

Yes, Tiger Woods has experienced a drastic fall in recent years off of the golf course, but speaking strictly from an athletic perspective, he is to this day one of the greatest sports heroes of all time and is my favorite sports figure.

Cover Image Credit: @tigerwoods

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