That LeBron James can play basketball.
That’s your late-breaking update from the Tragically Obvious News Department.
James’ streak of consecutive games shooting 60+% and scoring 30+ points ended in a Thursday night Miami Heat win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. James scored 39 points but shot a paltry 58% from the field. James’ record-breaking 60/30 streak ended at six games.
The streak has prompted a lot of discussion in the media (again) about who is the greatest of all time, LeBron or Michael Jordan, more so as James’ streak coincides with MJ’s 50th birthday.
Let’s get this out of the way first: my personal opinion, as a Miami Heat fan who never liked the Bulls is … who cares? For one thing it doesn’t make sense to compare players from different eras, and yes, MJ’s era was a bit different from LJ’s, but that’s a different article. Also, it makes little sense to compare a player who is likely not half-way through his career to a retired player. Let’s give LeBron another 8-9 years and see where were are then.
With the All-Star break and no games to play AND Miami riding a 7-game win streak AND Jordan’s birthday all coming up this weekend, there is sure to be plenty of additional discussion about the title of “Greatest of All Time.” Whether you actually follow the NBA or not, if you follow any sport and tune to ESPN, you’re probably going to hear something about it.
Dads, I have an assignment for you as you struggle through the weekend’s Jordan/James debate. Think about the title you have: Father.
There is great significance in carrying the title “father” in your home. In the Bible, God, the Creator of the Universe, is referred to as “Father” 260 times. (1)
It’s no accident that you share this title with the Heavenly Father. Author Rick Johnson writes:
“… you are the man God chose to be the father of your children! God could have picked anyone on earth for this task, but in his infinite wisdom, he chose you. Even if you don’t have confidence in your fathering skills, God says you fit the bill perfectly in his plan for your family. He knows all your strengths and weaknesses, and he determined before time began that you would be the father of your children.” [Emphasis mine] (2)
Not only do you share a title with our Lord, but it was He who gave you that title. Before He created anything else, He made sure that you would be a father to your children.
Does that statement make you pause to catch your breath? It does for me. It’s overwhelming to think that before there was an earth, a sun, an NBA, or a Krispy Kreme donut shop, that God was somewhere going through a checklist, and at some point, got to “Mark, son of James, general hothead, short guy, father to three sons born to three separate families.” How can you not appreciate how awesome and terrifying that is? It’s awesomely terrifying.
As if that weren’t enough, I have another shocker for you. You remember that title “Greatest of All Time?” You already own that title, dad. You were given that title by your kids, from the time they knew who “dad” was. The love and respect of your child is something given freely and unconditionally. Johnson, quoting Joe Stowell, writes:
“To realize that our kids love us, they want to respect us, and they want a relationship with us is a wonderful thing. ‘They just may be the only people in the world who want to love you, who want to respect you. With everyone else, you have to work for those things.’” (3)
In other words, to your kids, you are the “Greatest of All Time.” And you didn’t do anything to get there than just be their dad. As Stowell says, with everyone else we’ll ever meet on this earth, we have to earn their love and give them a reason to want to be in a relationship we us. We do nothing to earn our kids’ love, but there is plenty we can do to lose it.
So this weekend, as you listen to the MJ/LJ debates, possibly as you debate the issue yourself, remember the title you have received, from your kids and from God above.
Congrats on being “The Greatest of All Time.” Wear your title with honor, dad.
(2) Johnson, Rick Better Dads, Stronger Sons, Revel Books, 2006, p. 29.
(3) Johnson, p. 80
If you want my opinion on who is the “Greatest of All Time”, it’s this guy: