Why I Cried Watching Lebron in the Finals

This week, the world witnessed history.

Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers became the 2016 NBA Champions after being down 3–1 in the series against the Golden State Warriors.

I’ll be honest, I was very emotional watching Lebron after the game. I’ve been watching his career since he was 18 years old. I watched the world put an enormous pressure on him to be the next Michael Jordan. I watched every sports analyst criticize him for not being as good as he “should be.” And I watched people who didn’t even know him personally, say they “hate him.”

And what got me emotional was watching Lebron’s talk after the game in this postgame interview:


He gave everything to a city, the people of Cleveland, Ohio, a city that felt entitled to Lebron’s loyalty, entitled to him winning a championship for them, when it reality Lebron owed them nothing.

He’s been ridiculed for his ego, for being selfish, but what he had just done seemed so selfless.

He chose to go back to Cleveland. He chose to win them a championship, not because they deserved it, but because he chose to do it for them.

At the end of the day, what made Lebron’s leadership better than Curry’s? Lebron’s love for Cleveland was stronger than Curry’s love for the Bay area.

If you carefully listen to him and people close to him, it’s always been about Cleveland. He left to the Miami Heat because in the back of his mind, he would come back so he knew what it took to win a championship, something he couldn’t figure out in Cleveland after losing in the Finals year after year.

The adversity made the love so much more powerful. He failed at Cleveland by not winning one before he left. He failed Cleveland by leaving them. He failed by not winning the first year he came back.

Cleveland became the focus, the purpose of Lebron needing to win a championship. And this is important strategy/lesson for any leader because

every successful leader can identity their purpose, their “end” to why they need to grow profits, raise more funds, or win championships.

What’s Your Cleveland?

  • What is the thing that you will give everything for?
  • What are you willing to fail at?
  • What will make you go all-in?

In other words, what is your purpose? What is a purpose that is so powerful that everything in your life will be pulled towards it?

Book Recommendation: Black Hole Focus

I recommend a book by Isaiah Hankel called, Black Hole Focus: How Intelligent People Can Create a Powerful Purpose for Their Lives

Hankel is a young and brilliant researcher that helps you discover why you need a purpose, how to find it, and how to fulfill that purpose.

He is a Fortune 500 consultant and internationally recognized as an expert in the biotech industry and helping people transition out of unfilled jobs into cutting edge careers.


Every successful leader needs to identify their Cleveland, what their shiny carrot is, their all-in purpose. Identifying it takes a lot of coaching and self-awareness. I hope you all have someone in your lives that can be a mirror to you and provide a safe space to process your real carrot. That person can be a good friend, a leadership coach, an executive coach, or a mentor that is trained in development or psychology and can be for you, love you, and accept you.

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