I don’t care about basketball, but I do care about Cleveland. And so, with a hopeful heart, I watched “The Decision” last year. (You can read my post about PR lessons we could learn from that debacle here.)
Like many Clevelanders, last night I breathed a little easier as it became certain that we would not have to witness the thing we had all come to dread over the past year – a Miami Heat championship. While some laughed (and I don’t blame theme) and others wondered if this was enough to heal our wounds, I simply was relieved that my hometown would not have to suffer any further shame after being humiliated on national television last year.
And now that the Dallas Mavericks have eliminated the source of our dread, I’ve realized that, love him or hate him, there are lessons we all can learn from LeBron James:
1) There are no shortcuts to success.
We’ve read and heard the reminders of this truth over and over, in many different forms: success is 1% inspiration and 99% persperation; that Babe Ruth held the record for career strike-outs for years; you have to fail many times to have one success, etc., etc. And you know what? No matter how you say it, it’s still true.
2) Attitude is everything.
You can be the best at what you do, but if you have a bad attitude, eventually your skills and talents won’t matter. People won’t want to be around you if you have a bad attitude, and, human nature being what it is, people will be glad to see you fail. You’ll be that person in the office/family/circle of friends. You’ll be tolerated at best, but most likely, avoided and ignored.
3) Never give up.
I’ve read numerous jokes on Twitter referring to LeBron’s penchant for giving up in the fourth quarter. Now, remember, I’m not a basketball fan, so I only have last night’s game as a reference. It sure looked to me like he wasn’t giving it his all during the fourth quarter.
One of the reasons I like to watch The Biggest Loser is because it’s motivating to watch contestants who don’t give up. Even if someone else has already won a challenge, it’s rare for the others to quit without finishing…even though they no longer have any prospect of winning.
4) Don’t burn your bridges.
At this moment, I can’t imagine a circumstance under which LeBron would be welcome back in Cleveland. And I also can’t imagine a circumstance under which he might need something from someone in Cleveland. But someday, he might. And should he decide to take his talents away from South Beach? Will he be welcome in the other cities that courted him before The Decision? I don’t think that’s an automatic “yes.”
You’ll never know where you’ll end up and who’s help you might need.
And one refreshing lesson from the Dallas Mavericks – nice guys don’t always finish last.