Who is 30 years old, worth an estimated 270 million dollars, widely considered the best in the entire world at what he does, appears to be happily married with three great kids, has all the free Vitamin Water he can drink, and yet as of Wednesday morning this week was utterly depressed?
If you guessed Lebron James you would be correct…and the disappointing taste of Vitamin Water doesn’t even have anything to do with it. Despite his best efforts the Cleveland Cavaliers lost the NBA Finals…again. If the championship series was a gunfight, James entered into it with a collection of teammates comparable to dull butter knives. Meanwhile the opposition, the Golden State Warriors, entered all guns blazing. At the postgame press conference Tuesday night, James was clearly disenchanted.
Of course we would expect nothing less. In fact if you are not a basketball fan you may not realize that even had Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the championship this year, many would still consider his record in finals competition to be subpar. He has only won two NBA championships and has now lost four. This begs the question, how many championship runs have any of us been a part of? Well, let me see…there was that one year I was MVP of my Little League team and we won the local league championship. That was great! I think I may have played a minimal role in two other championship runs in high school baseball, both of which came up short. So yeah, I’ve been involved in 3, won 1, and reached my peak at about 11 years old apparently. Oh wait, I forgot I was on an intramural basketball team in college, The Lobster Boyz. We won it all. Yeah…we were sweet. Our shirts had a picture of two smiling lobsters dribbling basketballs with their claws. Gosh, Lebron is such a scrub!
How ridiculous. And yet we would not expect Lebron James to be anything but disgruntled after losing game 6 the other night. There is a part of me that wishes his response to all the reporters at the postgame presser had been more like this: “You know what, thanks for being here. I appreciate it, and it stinks to lose. But I got it made, so I’m going to go hop in a car from my fleet of luxury automobiles and pay someone else to drive me to my size 22 carbon footprint home. When I get there I’m going to turn on all the lights and electronics and wake up my wife and little kids. We’ll dance and swim in our hot tub…tubs actually, all night long. Then in the morning, after we make waffles, I’m loading up the Hummer with all this season’s old gear, a few cases of Vitamin Water, and going downtown to give it away at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. Shoot…I may even drive myself down there because I’m Lebron James and my life rocks. See you guys next fall. I’m out!” But that would never happen. Instead James, for all his success, appears mostly miserable at times.
Of course if he or any other celebrity were to simply blow off a press conference or interview in the hypothetical manner that I just described, he would be roundly criticized as brash and arrogant. Such criticism might be justifiable. And obviously I don’t really know the guy…maybe he is brash and arrogant. But the point is that for the most part we consider discontent to be somewhat of a virtue. It is an honorable thing to never be satisfied with one’s lot in life. You can always want more, you can always do better, you should always be striving whether it’s sports, business, school…or indeed life.
So if you’re just not happy as a man, the only reasonable course of action would be to become a woman.
If you just don’t want to be white, the only reasonably course of action would be to say you are black.
How else are you ever going to find peace and contentment?
Between Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal the news of the last month or so has certainly provided some interesting case studies in discontent, and these from a far more unusual category than that of Lebron James. The question is whether or not it would really kill us to simply chill out (perhaps every seventh day or so) rather than always seeking the next big thing…or seeking to be the next big thing.
At this point we have finally reached the last of the Ten Commandments; “You shall not covet” (Ex. 20:17). Stop wanting other people’s stuff. In fact stop wanting to be other people! As is the case with nearly every other commandment it is easy for most of us to lob stones in others’ directions while ignoring our own indiscretions. We all have our insecurities. I covet the abilities of people who are actually able to write real books. I also covet the abilities of every major league relief pitcher ever. It would be nice I think to be one of them. I wish my house had a basement or a garage…or both. I wish I could do some things as well as some other people do them, or make as much money, or work a room the way they do. But I can’t, and I do better when I am okay with that. That doesn’t mean I’m not hoping to save toward a home with a basement or that I’m not working to hone my skills (although baseball is pretty much out of the question now). It only means I have to be able to sleep at night, so better to make peace with who I am, with who God created me to be. After all the Tenth Commandment, like the previous nine, was written with our best interests in mind.