LeBron James, Greatness, and Mount Rushmore: An Adventure in Missing the Point


Michael. Magic. Bird.

When LeBron James was asked what his NBA “Mount Rushmore” would be, he rattled off the first three with ease, as many others probably could. The fourth took some deliberation, though James would choose Oscar Robertson as the fourth face on the mountainside. LeBron quipped that he would be one of the top four players all time by the time his career was finished, or else they had better find another “spot on the mountain” for him. Of course, this elicits rage from all sorts of sports fans. The assertion that LeBron James could be one of the four best players all time infuriated some, while the exclusion of Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, and even Tim Duncan enraged others.

What an adventure in missing the point.

I’m only a passive NBA fan. I one time equated myself to a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, but after LeBron left (and the city’s subsequent response) I couldn’t really keep interested in team. Now I just recognize that I am probably more of a LeBron fan than anything.

Am I a bandwagon fan? Absolutely. But I have no reason not to be. I don’t really care about the NBA and I’d much rather watch excellence than sit through painfully disappointing Cavs and Pistons games.

lebron-jamesYeah I know, Lebron’s got a personality and he is polarizing, but he is good. Why get swallowed by the hostility and miss an opportunity to see greatness in live-time?

Is he better than Michael? Is he better than Kobe? Is he better than Magic? Heck if I know.

Who cares?

Statisticians might argue otherwise, but you can’t measure greatness. You can’t measure achievement. You can measure, well, stats–points, rebounds, blocks, steals, assists, double-doubles, fouls, and so the numbers go on. But greatness is immeasurable.

At the basic level, sport is a science. There are certain ways to do certain tasks, specific drills to attain specific abilities, hours of methodical and unending practice. But as you climb the ladder of success and achievement, the line between science and art is blurred. The line between what is measurable and what is immeasurable is eschewed.

And that’s why the debates are so heated–we’re arguing over that which is immeasurable!

But that is so much of life, right? Deciding who is in and who is out? Deciding who’s “the best”? What is the greatest country in the world? Best state? Who was the best president? Who is the greatest golfer? Football player? Basketball player? Baseball player?

Let me save you some time. It’s all subjective. It’s immeasurable. It’s an adventure in missing the point.

Watch greatness when you get the opportunity.

Be your own greatness the rest of the time.


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