There aren’t too many sports stars that are as talked about as Miami Heat forward and two-time Olympic gold medalist LeBron James. Ever since James was becoming a basketball phenom at St. Vincent-St. Mary high school in Akron, Ohio, it was assumed he was destined to be the next great player the NBA will see. As James’ storied, and at times rugged, basketball career has evolved, he has earned a few noted nicknames along the way. The one that sticks out to me is “The Chosen One.” I ask the question “What exactly was James chosen for?” The answer could vary depending on who you ask. There are a lot of things you could possibly say the 2012 NBA Finals MVP was chosen for. I want to look at a few of these things that may be on the list.
Was James chosen to bring the city of Cleveland it’s first major sports title since baseball’s Indians won the World Series in 1948? The Cavaliers chose him with that in mind when they drafted the high school star #1 before the 2003-’04 season. The hopes and dreams of the city and the Cavs franchise were placed on the shoulders of James. To his credit, he almost delivered on those hopes, leading the Cavs to the 2007 NBA Finals before the team was swept by the San Antonio Spurs. James would also lead the team to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009, where the team was defeated in six games by the Orlando Magic. I would say James gave his all to the team and the city for seven years. He probably could have used a little bit more help, but the haters weren’t trying to hear that. It was always looked at as James wasn’t able to deliver the good when the team and the city needed the most.
Was James chosen to go through the backlash that came from “The Decision?” We all know this was the hour show where James announced he would leave Cleveland to sign with the Miami Heat and join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the summer of 2010. Since James was a free agent, he could do whatever he wanted. I don’t think people had a problem with what he did. How he went about it, combined with the frowned-upon victory parade that was held before the Heat ever played a game with their three prized possessions, put James in a negative and nasty light in the public eye. James went from being one of the most loved players in the NBA to one of the most hated, particularly in Cleveland. When the Heat came up short to in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, people (including myself) weren’t too sad to see James experience heartbreak from the loss. I don’t know if James was chosen to take this path, but I do think James could have chosen to handle things a lot better than he did (James did later apologize for the how he handled his free agent situation).
Was James chosen to finally win that elusive NBA title and turn 2012 into the “Year of LeBron?” No matter what you might think about this man, you can’t take away from all of the accomplishments James achieved this season. He was an all-star, won his third NBA regular-season MVP in four seasons, won his first NBA Championship, was the NBA Finals MVP, and to top it off, won his second Olympic gold medal with the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team in London. If James was “The Chosen One” to have this type of year, than somebody was definitely looking out for him. You can’t even dream of a year like this. Whatever the case may be, you have to say James has silenced his critics. No longer can we say he doesn’t come through in big games, nor can we say that he isn’t a clutch player. He deleted all of those doubts with this past season.
Here’s the conclusion that I’ve drawn. You can be named “The Chosen One” all day long, but it is you who ultimately decides whether or not those predictions come true. In life, we aren’t defined by our words or anyone else’s. We are defined by our choices, our actions, and how we respond in our most adverse times. James’ path, fairly or unfairly, was one that was rocky, particularly in the last couple of years. But instead of wilting, he responded with hard work and dedication. He figured out things on his own after picking the brain of some of the NBA’s most legendary players. That, combined with the disappointment from 2011, made James a better player and a better person. If anything was chosen, it was the path James decided to take. All indications say James has made some good choices.