Michael Jordan? Kobe Bryant? Wilt, Bill Russell, Kareem. Sorry, but the GOAT is LeBron. So enjoy him while he lasts. Yes, it’s a personal opinion and it’s certainly debatable using whatever metrics you can drum up. But if we’re talking about a single player meaning more to his team – team after team after team – and coupling that with who the man is and what he stands for, then I stand behind my man, my choice, my personal friend, LeBron James. (Okay, he’s not a personal friend, but I know if we met, we would totally hit it off and become fast friends, and he would take me to all his parties and introduce me to all his other friends and let me crash at his pad for 3-4 weeks or months. “Whatever you need, dog.” He’s just that kind of guy.)
Okay, back to reality. Let’s talk about LeBron for a sec. LeBron the brand. King James. If you want to measure the brand simply by income, then I have 85 million reasons. That’s for one year. Now, it’s easy to make that kind of money and go hide in your villa for a few months at a time. But that’s not LeBron. And that’s not the brand. LeBron is not afraid to speak out for what he believes in. He’s not afraid to put up his capital for philanthropic and altruistic ventures.
He’s also not afraid to speak his mind – to whoever’s listening or cares to engage. Other athletes, community leaders, commissioners, CEOs, presidents. His pulpit is not just the basketball court or social media. He has a television show that talks about real issues that affect the African American community – and beyond.
Put together, it’s clear that LeBron has grown bigger than the man himself or the team he’s on or the NBA – or “sports”. He will not just shut up and dribble. And nor should you. In your world, you, your company and your brand have a unique opportunity to stand up for what you believe in. Of course, making money is nice. Being successful is great. But sometimes transcending the product line and taking a stance for what you believe in is the greatest reward.