I was reading an article today that called Lebron James the "incredible shrinking superstar." The writer was looking at Lebron's stats so far in the 3 games against the Dallas Mavericks and determined that his stats were not worthy of being called a superstar.
Whether it is sports writers or the average fan, people tend to determine if a player is good based upon if they like or dislike the player as a person. Obviously Lebron is a very polarizing figure. I would say that now he has as many people that disdain him as like him. (I know the sports writers try to make it out that everyone outside of Miami hates him, but his jersey was still thbe number one seller in the NBA this year.) Yet the absurdity of saying Lebron is not good blows my mind (as does the Nowitzki haters saying Dirk is no good; or the Kobe haters saying Kobe is no good; etc.) A players personality does not determine his effectiveness on the court. In Lebrons case, his statistics for the last 6 years straight has been at a level that no other player has matched even for one year.
So back to the present series...
Yes Lebron's numbers are a bit down. Some can be attributed to the fact that Shawn Marion is no slouch on defense. Some can be attributed to the fact that a smart team will go to it greatest mismatches, and although I love Jason Kidd's game - he cannot guard Dwayne Wade! And some can be attributed to playing smart basketball.
One of the things I constantly stress to players I train is to make the simplest play possible. When players are concerned with the showboat plays more than the simple plays they are not near as effective. If you are watching the games you see the Dallas defense heavily shifting toward Lebron when he gets the ball. If basketball recorded assists like hockey does then Lebron's numbers would be beyond superstar status. He is often making the simple skip pass that sets things in motion for the heat. (At least it is the simple pass for a 6'8" monster that sees the whole floor.) Lebron has silently done so much this series that most writers and fans simply do not pick up on.
This is because we highlight the numbers columns of the stat sheets more than the team oriented approach that Lebron is playing. [Even if you think he is an arrogant schmuck - which he very well may be - it doesn't change the fact that he is a dominant force.]
So how is this leading into this week's devotion? Tonight I spoke with a men's group about what it means to be free in Christ. I likened it unto a basketball freelance offense where players have freedom within the rules to make decisions with the basketball.
Lebron has that type of freedom every time the ball is in his hands. His choices can be to be a "superstar" and always rely on his amazing athleticism, score a lot more points, etc. Or he can strive to make the smart team play each time down the floor. (Watch out NBA when he matures even more in the latter approach...)
As Christians we tend to celebrate and look for the "superstar" moments. As a missionary I often hear people's acclaim for trips we take overseas or big events we run. Yet not much is made about the simple things like this past Thursday when Clay saw a 7 yr old boy at the park and decided to do an impromptu little basketball clinic with the kid - and then made sure the boys mom had a Gospel tract in hand.
The point this week is this: we are set free in order to serve one another! (See Galatians 5:13.) We serve Christ by serving others. (See Matthew 25 about when it is we have served Christ.)
I think it is time that we stop waiting for the big "superstar" moments in our service and open our eyes to make the simple play and help meet people's needs on a daily basis - even if it means we will not be listed as a "superstar." In fact I think Biblically the goal is to be a "shrinking superstar." It is not about us but about Christ! (See John 3:30.)