If you’re even remotely a fan of basketball, when you hear the word Lebron you know they’re talking about Lebron James, aka King James.The L-Train, or The Chosen One, just to name a few.

King James is considered the face of the NBA. As of this writing he’s 30 years old, has racked up two NBA rings, and is two wins away from winning his third title for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the NBA. That wasn’t always the case.

Growing up in the greater NYC area, my team was and always will be the NY Knicks. I still root for the team that plays their home games from Madison Square Garden, arguably the greatest entertainment venue on the planet. However since moving to Central NY in the early 1980’s, and earning my International Business MBA degree from Syracuse University, I’ve bled Orange for the last 30 years.

So why a post about the Cleveland Cavaliers and King James? Lebron James is a redemption story in the making.

James played for the Cavaliers from 2003-2010. He opted for free agency in 2010 and was courted by a number of teams.

On July 8, 2010, he announced on a live ESPN special titled The Decision that he would leave the Cavaliers and sign with the Miami Heat. Although the telecast raised millions of dollars for charity, this marketing stunt was considered one of the biggest public relations blunders in the history of sport.

He was despised by Cleveland fans for his actions.

Last year Lebron decided to leave the Heat, where he helped win two championships, and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he began his NBA career.

Cleveland fans were back in love with The L-Train.

Ravenous sports fans have a short memory. We all love the script of a redemption story.

As of game three in the 2015 NBA Finals, the Cavs (leading the series 2-1)are so dependent on James that 44% of the offense goes through him.

Quite frankly, I’m shocked the Cavaliers made it to the finals. Nobody anticipated success this quickly. I, like everyone else, thought this was going to be a rebuilding process, surrounding a group of young players with a Hall of Famer in Lebron.

Single-handedly, he’s strengthened the bench of everyone on this team. He’s made everyone that much better. That’s a leader.

Although I’m not a fan of the NBA, I’ll be pulling for Lebron to drag his team across the finish line and give the Cavs their first ring since becoming a franchise in 1970.

Whether they win the whole enchilada or not, this is truly a redemption story. Lebron has carried this team on his back the entire season and through the playoffs.

King James is back in the good graces of Cleveland fans. A leader through and through, he’s given the fans of Cleveland a ride they never expected.

Lebron James has redeemed himself.

I don’t think I”m going out on limb saying in one way or another, we all have a redemption story. All of us want to right a wrong or make amends with something from our past.

What are you willing to do to begin writing your redemption script?

This weeks guest post is by Zach Colick, Content Specialist for my behavioral assessment company, TTI Success Insights.

Photo courtesy of Erik Drost.


3 Leadership Lessons From Lebron James – by Zach Colick, Content Specialist for TTI Success Insights

Winning Spirit Born Out Of Mistakes; Persistence Is Example for All

It’s LeBron James’ world, and we’re all merely spectators.

The league’s undisputed best player is on the precipice of playing in his sixth consecutive NBA Finals, starting Thursday night against the upstart favorite Golden State Warriors.

Indeed, King James is in some rarified air.

No doubt James is a ridiculous, off-the-charts talent, capable of notching win after win with a less-than-stellar cast and leading teams on deep playoff runs than otherwise predicted.

But what can we learn about leadership from basketball’s reigning royalty?



No. 1: Humility and patience are true leadership qualities.

After accepting his mistakes and learning from earlier hubris, James preached patience and downplayed the idea of a championship prior to his first season back in Cleveland after winning two Larry O’Brien trophies as a member of the Miami Heat.


No. 2: Team-building takes time and persistence.

Take the current 2014-15 campaign. An Opening Night roster of James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and a cast of others looked nice on paper. But as we all saw, the synergy between James and his new Cavs teammates wasn’t there — and for some time.

Rumors swirled that coach David Blatt was in over his head and that Love’s alleged lack of chemistry with James would force Love out.

But after acquiring sharpshooters Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the New York Knicks midway through the season, suddenly everything began to click. Roles were more clearly defined, and unheralded players like Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova began to shine bright in big moments.

Credit Blatt all you want, but James routinely gets the best out of players and takes full responsibility when trying to involve teammates fails.


No. 3: A focus on continuous improvement pays off.

“Could I foresee this?” James said recently to USA Today. “At the beginning of the season, I couldn’t. I couldn’t foresee us being in the Finals at the beginning of the season, because I just knew that we just had to get better, and I just saw how young we were and how young minded we were at that point in time.

“But I knew I had to lead these guys, and if they just followed my leadership, I knew I could get them to a place where they haven’t been before.”

Professional athletes talk all the time about the mental part of the game; how integral it is to have that championship mindset, for that same drive and fire to carry over to teammates.

For his part, James said earlier in his career he never felt like he had to win games on his own, but has developed a greater ability to lead as he’s grown older and matured.


Can James and Co. provide a title to championship-starved Cleveland? The city’s first professional sports title since 1964 and James’ third title before age 31?

This is what King James returned for. A chance to deliver a title to Cleveland — to northeast Ohio — and firmly repair any remaining discord fans may have from The Decision.

For the rest of us, the chance to watch a new model of leadership rise.


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