LeBron James Isn't The Best Role Model, But We Have Had Unfair Expectations
Movies and television have always impacted the way we think. There is a reason why people protest films that they think promote a message that they believe shouldn’t be spread.
And with these hero movies, it almost seems reasonable to have higher standards for the behavior of the people we are constantly given information about by the media, especially athletes. The problem is that we expect to be impressed by these people, but then when they don’t act the way we believe that they should—they’re disappointments.
So is that fair for LeBron? He was born without the same competitiveness that Kobe and MJ naturally had and he’s been immature at times, but is it fair for us to expect him to act more like a role model?
Let’s take a closer look at Spiderman for a minute. In the movie, Peter Parker’s uncle, Ben Parker, tells him “With great power comes great responsibility.” And Spiderman recognizes in the sequel that his personal life isn’t as important as fighting crime and helping others in need.
LeBron isn’t Spiderman, but should he be more accountable for his actions than everyone else because we look up to him? It isn’t his fault that our society put him on a pedestal, but maybe he should act more mature and learn to become the leader we expect him to be since he is going to be admired whether he wants to be or not.
At the end of the day, LeBron probably regrets some of the comments he’s made (ie the 2011 NBA Finals comments) and some of the things he’s done (ie “The Decision”), but he shouldn’t have to be a role model just because he’s good at playing basketball.
The issue is that while he might not be worth all of the attention he gets, LeBron will always be seen as someone who deserves it. Because he is one of the most gifted athletes the world has ever seen, LeBron will always have the world analyzing his every action and every word. While he wasn’t born with the personality of a Kobe or an MJ, we will continue to treat him like he should have been born that way because we want to keep our high expectations.
What it still comes down to—even if it’s just in the back of our minds at this point—is that two years ago LeBron left his hometown team to play with his friends, and a lot of us think that is unacceptable for someone who should be capable of winning a championship on his own.
Certainly, it was surprising since we had never seen a player on this grand of a stage, who is the best there is at his sport, join his buddies so it would be easier for him to find success.
But maybe there isn’t anything wrong with that.
Maybe our expectations are too high and we should just accept LeBron for who he is: An amazing once-in-a-lifetime talent who just wasn’t born to be a role model.