Dear July – continued…

by DanWolgemuth on July 6, 2018

This past week, while the World Cup Soccer tournament roared, and Major League Baseball edged past the midway point in the season… many in the world of sports focused on a 33-year-old from Akron, Ohio. LeBron James officially became LABron, with a four-year commitment to play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.

What’s clear is that LeBron stewards a vast array of physical and mental talents that make him a basketball elite. By some accounts, he’s on his way to becoming one of the finest players to ever pound the hardwoods.

By virtue of this new contract to leave the Buckeye State, LeBron will be paid handsomely. Consider this. Over the next four seasons, LeBron will make approximately $481,000 for each game that he plays. That’s over $12,000 a minute, or $17,000 for every point he scores.

Make no mistake, this was no act of charity by the Lakers. It was a calculated business decision to bring a “ticket selling” and merchandise selling machine to southern California. In essence, $25 of every ticket sold at the Center for a Lakers basketball game, will go to pay LeBron. Twenty-five dollars times 19,000 tickets a game. An investment.

But if 15 seasons of LeBron has taught us anything, it’s this… a phenomenal athlete, in a special and rare category, with a steely determination isn’t enough to win NBA Championships. Indeed, he’s won championships; two in Miami, and one much hoped for in Cleveland… but there were 12 other seasons. Only two of his 15 seasons didn’t include the NBA playoffs, and 9 seasons have ended in the NBA Finals. But only three have secured the trophy.

Please don’t misunderstand, this is not an indictment of LeBron. He’s fiercely competitive and monstrously talented, but even LeBron James is not enough alone. And frankly, you can’t just throw four other athletes on the floor and have that be enough. He needs great basketball players around him to win championships. At least four and maybe six. And then you throw the necessity of the right coach and coaching staff.

Even LeBron needs help. Even LeBron isn’t enough by himself.

If career statistics are the end goal, then LeBron can succeed on his own. But if championships are the measure, then a team is required. Others. Players. Gifted. Focused.

So, just a week into July and my “Dear July” has reinforced a powerful reality, and through the Sports Pages no less.

I need others. Not casually, but desperately. A Body of Believers. The Church.

Weakness? Reality.

Even LeBron. Especially Dan Wolgemuth.

A role to play. A pass to make. A shot to take. Always and only on a team.

July.

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