I have been reading the flood of comments about LeBron James’ decision to move back to Cleveland and finish his career with the Cavaliers (A move he eluded to in interviews a couple of times). While it caught sports fans by surprise, I have to say I can hardly blame him. Because as LeBron stated in his letter to Sports Illustrated, his life is bigger than basketball. I imagine he wants his legacy to be bigger than basketball.
At some point in any adult life, we have to understand that business decisions cannot be made with an emotional bias. LeBron is clearly a young man who has matured. While I have never doubted his business acumen, I do see extraordinary growth in his stream of professional consciousness. LeBron, in my humble opinion, looked past the immediate gratification, ahead to the long term ramifications. Instead of opting for the quick fix, following the status quo, or submitting to the will of GM’s, coaches, fellow players, and the almighty dollar he chose instead to lay a foundation that would not only benefit him, but the city of Cleveland for generations to come. LeBron James remembers hardship. He remembers what it was like to watch a single mom struggle. He knows how important it is to respect where you came from, versus where everyone thinks you need to be. Much like in my book, he applied the principles of Purpose, Foundation, Legacy, Success. No man is bigger the game, but make no mistake about it…some decisions are!
We think too much about profit. The money. The windfall. If I hear the term “Stop BS’ing and let’s get this money” one more time my head may explode. There is so much more to being successful, relevant and impactful than getting rich. As a promoter who has worked hard to build a reputation as a reputable businessman, I call this “worrying too much about door money”. In other words, people worry more about how much profit they will score at the end of the event, instead of focusing on how to create a brand with so much appeal and draw, it will turn into a constant source of revenue based on the quality of the show. We focus too much about “What’s in it for me now”. Yes, another ring for LeBron would be outstanding. But nowhere near as significant as driving the economy of the city you grew up. Sure driving sports cars up and down South Beach and poppin’ bottles and “turning up” sounds appealing (to some) but that is nothing like being an engine of revenue that will benefit an entire state.
We need to get our priorities in order if we are ever to progress past our present circumstances (whether they are favorable or not). Get back to business as it should be. Clear thinking, careful planning and a focus on long-term results. Leave the obsession with “door money” to the short-term thinkers.