Culture / Leadership/Ministry

A Lesson on Leadership from LeBron

As a caveat, I am not a fan of LeBron James, nor the Miami Heat, and am still upset that they took the NBA championship last night in a blow-out against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But there was a point while I was watching the game where I saw a glimpse of LeBron’s inner world that I sort of wished I didn’t see.

During the early-to-mid 4th qtr, where the Heat were up by around 25 pts or so, Mario Chalmers of the Heat starts waving his hands in the air towards the crowd in what might be considered an early celebration of their victory, to get the crowd riled up. In this moment, LeBron walks over to him and repeats, “no,” and says something to the effect of, “not yet, we’re still playing ball” or “we’re not doing that now, it’s not time yet.” He said it in a way that wasn’t demeaning or domineering but for fear. I saw a glimpse of LeBron I thought I would never see: humility and brokenness that resulted from last year’s heartbreaking loss and subsequent mockery from what seems like the rest of the world outside of Miami.

It was just a few seconds on camera and just a momentary glimpse of him. But imagine a kid who had done something bad, and as a result was so severely whooped by his parents, he could still feel the pain in his bottom weeks and months later. In fact, he sees his friend on the playground making the same mistake he did, so he goes over and tells him not to do it, because the pain of discipline still resonated within him. That’s what I saw in LeBron. I could see that over the course of the year, he had been broken. And that brokenness resulted in humility. Whether that humility lasts is a different story, but it showed last night.

Victory won’t come until we are broken and humbled. Pride is that one sin that deceives you into thinking you are self-sufficient, only to render you powerless and ineffective, especially when it comes to spiritual things. And as a leader, it’s important to remind others of maintaining that humility. I remember the weekend after baptizing 96 people in our church, our pastor reminding us, in the midst of the rejoicing in God’s work in our church, to remain humble before the Lord. That is what LeBron did, and that is what leaders do. They remember their brokenness and humility and warn others against it.

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