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.