In 2003, the greatest draft of the modern basketball era had given us Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, and the high school phenom LeBron James.
In the 16 years since this epic draft, all but one has captured an NBA Championship, but all will be remembered for what they did on the court. Their legacies etched in stone based off their achievements of playing the great game of basketball; if they won a championship or not, were they MVPs, or at least dominant during their time as the leaders of their teams . 3 out of the 4 guys on this list are retired or walking out the door of the sport they love. Leaving behind the cheering fans who crave their attention. But the lone soldier still on the court, bouncing the orange round ball with 9 championship appearances capturing 3. The lone soldier who is leading his 3rd NBA franchise, the high school phenom from Akron, Ohio; first pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers, The LeBron James.
James has had an incredible NBA career carrying his teams through the pits of the playoffs year after year. But in the 2018-2019 season, in his 16th year since getting drafted, the injury bug finally caught up to him. James was not able to drag his team to the playoffs this year, Father Time catches all who run on his clock.
But for LeBron, no matter how great he is on the court, his legacy will forever be defined for what he does off the court.
LeBron’s off the court accomplishments ranges from entertainment to making pizzas. His entertainment company, SpringHill Entertainment, led by his longtime friend and manager Maverick Carter, have created and are creating various projects for T.V. And film that meant to educate viewers on the social issues going on in America today. The company also has produced the game show “The Wall,” something that, to me, rings of family t.v. time.
The basketball mega-star has even jumped into the deep in when it comes to community service. LeBron has made it his mission to give back to his community of Akron, Ohio. In 2015, LeBron James Family Foundation created the “I Promise” program. The program is for students in the Akron area attending Akron public schools. Students in the program are award full tuition at the University of Akron. LeBron has further expanded the program to creating the “I Promise School.”
In 2018, LeBron opened his school for at-risk students in the Akron, Ohio area. It is a Elementary school that will expand in the next couple of years, but the school is apart of the Akron public school system. Students are selected into the school, and are given bikes and helmets once in. The school infuses the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum. LeBron also has included Job placement programs for the parents as well. Hoping to service not only the students but their parents as well.
When I was young, we would all try to play like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but now as I’ve gotten older, we want to be like LeBron James because of what he has done on and off the court.
In the 1960s, professional athletes took a stand for civil rights. Guys like Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar put in great effort to push the civil rights agenda. Helping Martin Luther King and other black activists. Now years later, LeBron James name will be remembered for doing the same but on a much larger platform. Where those in the 1960s left off LeBron & Co. have picked up the torch.
Ever since President Donald Trump was elected into office, sports mega-stars have stepped up to voice their displeasure of Trump as their president. The words and the actions Trump displayed during his election campaign has lit a fire amongst athletes. One reporter told LeBron to shut up and dribble. LeBron responded by doing more talking and putting his words into action with his school and media projects.
LeBron is what kids look up to everyday. LeBron is a dream realizes for all kids who start their lives off with not having much, but dream to make an impact. From his Social Justice actions to the many projects he has going on, LeBron James legacy is morphing from one of an athlete to that of an icon.