On Tuesday night, LeBron James made history as he broke the all-time NBA scoring record with 38,388 points, surpassing the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. While LeBron's incredible athleticism is undeniable, it's not what makes him the greatest athlete of all time. It's his unwavering commitment to giving back to the game, elevating those around him, and being a voice for his community that will leave a lasting impact on generations to come.
In a world where winning is often valued above all else, it's time to reframe how we view an athlete's legacy. Too often, we hear stories of athletes who berate their teammates, cheat, or do anything to win. But what if we started valuing an athlete's character over their victories?
Would Michael Jordan still be considered the greatest of all time, or would LeBron James take his place as a team player who is constantly elevating his teammates and using his platform for good?
As a high school coach, the author has seen how young athletes emulate the behaviors and attitudes of their sports heroes. They celebrate their successes with chest-beating and shouts, but rarely acknowledge the contributions of their teammates.
That's why it's crucial for youth sports coaches and parents to focus on developing athletes who are more like LeBron James - players who value teamwork and being good teammates over individual accomplishments.
LeBron recognizes that his impact on the world goes far beyond basketball, and that's a lesson that starts on the court. He understands that being a team player elevates not only the play of his team, but also his own.
By teaching the next generation of athletes about their impact on and off the court, we can start developing their potential as future leaders.
Individual achievement is great, but doing it with a team and for a greater purpose is the ultimate legacy. As youth sports coaches and parents, let's strive to inspire the next generation of athletes to follow in LeBron's footsteps and become leaders both on and off the court.