The Most difficult part of getting to the top of the ladder is getting through the crowd at the bottom. ~Arch Ward
What a feeling it must be to win an MBA championship. If you could imagine this grueling 8-10 month process, of self-sacrifice and the torture of your mind, body and spirit. I am talking about preseason, 82 game season, travel, tv deals, referees, celebrities, the playoffs, families and the list goes on and on. And, to get through all of that and then hoist that Larry O’Brien trophy.
All of that blood sweat and tears that went into that brief moment. The ups and downs, injuries, trade deadlines, sports betting and just about everything you can imagine that goes into being the best. Is it all worth it? Absolutely? Why wouldn’t it be. I would give me right leg to win a championship.
Personally, I understand what type of person you have to become into in order to win in the game of life. Having played basketball, football and track I was able to garner a sense of the work ethic and discipline to cross the finish line. It is a grueling process of the unknown. And it’s something that can become quite addictive. Now, that Lebron James is in his 18th season some would say that he is looking better than ever. I feel that with the discipline that he has and the technology available opens the door for these types of athletes to exist.
Lebron is a true sports hero that leads by example. He has integrity, character, honesty, loyalty, and a very trustworthy brand. My question is then what makes a kid from Akron so driven to compete at such a high level? What is behind his foundation, children, wife, Rich Paul, friends, business endeavors, and the movies that inspires his resolve and passion for success?
Use Poverty as Motivation
If you came from poverty or was raised in substandard living conditions, then you can appreciate the grit, persistence and drive of an individual who refuses to go back into those conditions. The hood aka Ghetto is a hard place to be raised in. The morality of your existence is hard to comprehend. No father, welfare, death, anxiety, depression, drugs, poverty, pain, confusion, violence, abuse and all other types of insurrections can make a person lose his/her mind. There is a fundamental truth that must be explained about what poverty does to the soul of a black man.
It takes years to overcome the scars and hard-fought battles of a black man’s upbringing. If you think that Lebron James isn’t still dealing with those childhood issues and trauma you are insane. I am about to turn 40 years of age and one thing I can say is that black men need healing, and the kind that walks them through those painful experiences in order to get closure on the past. Those scars will forever lurk and create this internal discord if not addressed. My soul still hurts daily from my childhood scars, and although I am just now beginning to get counseling around those issues there is still tons of healing that is needed.
Remember, when Michael Jordan Dedicated His 1996 NBA Title To His Father, Who Was Murdered In 1993 While the Chicago Bulls won their fourth NBA championship in 1996? It was in this 4th ring of Michael Jordan that broke down while thinking about hisfather, who was murdered three years ago? Michael Jordan did this having grew up with a father and then losing him as an adult. Can you imagine Lebron James winning 4 NBA championships and never knew his father at all? It’s not so much the comparison as it is the pain that comes along with greatness. It’s the pain of poverty, abuse and misfortune that drives man to his ultimate destiny; for those who can overcome the hardships that come along with this journey.
Learn How to Process Life
One of the toughest lessons I had to face in life is myself. I realize that every experience I faced up until this point had a lesson attached to it. It was on me to discern the lesson, learn from that lesson and move forward. But how many times do we get stuck in the lesson and keep having to repeat the same seasons in our life? It’s not that much fun to deal with toxic relationships, people, situations and our thinking. At some point the hard work of gaining clarity from those storms, starts to help us uncover what has been missing all along.
Today, while I was on my daily jog, I thought about what it would mean to win it all “A sports championship that is”. I thought about what it would take to overcall these obstacles and get to the next level in my development. I will say this about life. Every experience we have is incredibly unique. We all must go through the fire and pain of rejection before we can see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s all about how we process life. It’s about trusting ourselves more to make decisions that we feel would be in the best interest of the group. It’s about taking a step back and getting to know yourself and how you truly respond under pressure. Don’t be afraid to face the pain of yesterday while continuing to move forward.
Never rush the awakening process. I tried for years to push through the pain of misunderstanding. I wanted so bad to know why I was going through all of the trauma. I refused to accept that it was just part of life. Although, it is a part of our journey I needed the time for my mind to process that emotion. I just wasn’t willing to sit in the pain. Nobody wants to die a thousand deaths. That’s why mentors and counselors should be part of our experience. Fighting those inner demons alone can wreak havoc on the psyche. Instead of dealing with the pain we men tend to mask it with drugs, alcohol, sex, parties, and all types of taboo things that helps men not feel the pain.
In the end, you will win the championship, but you must stay the course, fight those demons, and keep moving forward in your life. The negativity and noise only come when you begin to take a stance for life purpose and mental health. Never give up. The pain is real but your destiny is even realer.