Do you have a LeBron in your organization?

Over the last few days a portion of our firm participated in a training session called The Speed of Trust presented by Denis Stoddard, Ph.D. This training is supported by Franklin Covey and it emphasized the importance of trust within the workplace, the most important reason to trust those around you? It’s going to affect your bottom line… you’ll make more money if you trust those around you. Seems easy enough right? You might even win an NBA Championship if you trust your teammate right?

The past few nights I’ve been thinking about trust and when I read Rick Reilly’s article on ESPN LeBron being LeBron, I couldn’t help but respond, it’s the NBA Playoffs after all. Now let’s just keep in mind folks that I was born a die hard Cleveland fan, if born and die can be used in the same sentence. My dad threw me in a Browns onezie when I was just shy of 2 years old, wrapped me up in blankets and took me to my first Browns game in the Dawg Pound at the old Municipal Stadium. Mind you the pride of Cleveland sat in this section in the late 80’s and early 90’s, mainly ex-cons as noted by my father. Nevertheless, there I was, innocent yet entrenched in middle-aged, He-Man America all for the love of a city and sports team.

In the rant Rick goes on defending LeBron in all his glory. Let’s address a few of his statements:

  • He’s won 3 MVP’s in 9 seasons – Correct. But, those are individual awards, remember?
  • Hundreds of people move from Cleveland to Miami a year – One, I’d like to know the actual statistics on this. And two, I’m pretty sure that is false. Not really the same culture. One arena has a night club, the other? A Kid’s Club.
  • Dozens of NBA players switch teams every year – Really? I didn’t know. But, not every player is the superstar or THE best player in the league for that matter. If Matt Barnes leaves a team? NO ONE cares, 98% of people reading this blog probably don’t even know who he is. By the way has Kobe, Dwight, Dwayne, or KD left? Hum. Nope.
  • He goes on to discuss all of the “moral” wrongs others have done and LeBron has yet to commit, cheating on wives, getting in fights, being arrested – you are right on this point. But, again I’m a big KD fan and he hasn’t done any of this either and still manages to be a nice guy who isn’t arrogant.
  • Last, he botched one thing, The Announcement, get over it – Now, this is a statement that I just don’t agree with. Get over it? Read The Whore of Akron by Scott Raab, a long-time writer for Esquire and other publications and you probably won’t just get over it.

By “botching” The Announcement, LeBron broke Cleveland’s trust. It takes a while to build trust, some may say 7 years, and it takes one statement to completely destroy it, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.” LeBron it’s not about you, it never was. You could put any star in your role, who accomplished the same things and I would love them, not you, because it’s about the city. It’s about not having won any type of championship since 1964 when the Browns won the NFL Championship Game, not even a Super Bowl! You took away “our” chance at being the sports town that gets to stay up until midnight watching “our” team go to battle. When you left Cleveland LeBron, your press conference only included “I” statements, “I did what I could – I gave you 7 years.” Really? Do you want me to thank you or something? If there’s anything to get over, it’s you.

It boils down to TRUST my friends. Peyton Manning left Indianapolis… finally. But, he cried when he announced his decision. He didn’t put on a spectacle during primetime, there’s a character difference there. There’s a feeling of, he really does care. LeBron? Negative. He goes on to have a welcoming parade of the “Big Three.” So much for the team, I guess only the good players matter. Yes, Lebron has been in the league 9 years and as for MJ at this point in his career? No rings either. But, did MJ go around promising not 5, not 6, not 7 NBA titles? I’m fairly young but, I don’t think so. When you go around parading your greatness? Yes, you deserve ridicule for not following through.

Millennials… this is a clear perception of you and LeBron fell right into it. Do not over promise and under deliver. Arrogance is not attractive.

If you’re not a Cleveland fan? You can give LeBron a break, maybe you should. But, if you are, you have no reason to give him a break. And I never will. If Rick is upset about sports analysts giving him a hard time, clearly ESPN is only about ratings. If Skip Bayless is hating on LeBron non-stop and people are watching? I’m pretty sure it will continue. It’s their job to analyze and nit-pick. LeBron is the best player in the league, since when do people think he’ll fly under the radar?

Trust. It’s been lost and I don’t see the guiding light yet to welcome it back. I appreciate your insights Rick, I really do. But, at the end of the day LeBron broke Cleveland’s trust. That is one action that will take a lot to overcome. Value trust. It can only help you, whether you’re an NBA star or recent college grad starting your first job this month.


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