I don’t know if you’d call her a Southern Belle or just a lady of Texas but it hasn’t prevented her from expressing her appreciation for LeBron James.
She tells me she thinks he is the greatest and I politely say he is in my top 5 and might even be in my top 3.
“What does he have to to do. Will he ever be the greatest?”
It is part sarcasm and part serious question.
My answer isn’t scientific and many will debate it, but it starts with a simple thought. LeBron’s path to the finals has been easier than some of the other great players because he has spent his career in the Leastern division.
It used to hold more snark in it than it once did but as he has made it back to the finals time and time again I have revised my opinion over and over.
I still believe the path has been easier but repetition at that level of play over the extended time played deserves much respect.
Regardless of whether I come to the conclusion today that he is the best or if he remains in that top fiver certain things don’t change for me.
- I like watching him play and believe if you are a fan of the game you have to take time to see it.
- Who we grew up watching always impacts our opinion of the present.
The Kid At The Gym
The kid at the gym is one of several people who have tried to convince me to move LeBron up a rung or two.
I tell him he never got to see the 80s Lakers or Celtics play. I say he has no clue what Magic was like and knows not what he speaks of when he says MJ didn’t get beat up by the bad boys.
When he says LeBron would have been dominant in their time I nod my head and say he could have played with any of them, but I don’t think his current run matches the talent MJ, Magic and Bird faced.
He shakes his head, tells me how old I am and I bust his balls about not judging a book by its cover.
We play a little game of who can lift more and I out lift him in every area. More weight, more reps.
“Some of us old men aren’t as old as we look. Sometimes you have to look hard and wonder what happens if you scrape the rust off of the paint.
I don’t mention the sleeve on my left arm helps manage the tendinitis or that I wonder if the mole on my leg is something more.
Don’t tell him that I pay close attention to the miscellaneous aches and pains and wonder if any of them are…unnatural.
Preventative maintenance and a small dose of fear with a lower case ‘f’ push me to fight the clock and see if I can turn it back a notch or two.
I have some unspoken goals and unfulfilled dreams to work upon.
The conversation about LeBron is fun and a distraction. It doesn’t matter if I am right or wrong, it is just fun and I appreciate those who are experts at their craft.
From what I have read he is a good guy and I appreciate that too because a guy like him could easily be a jerk.
The kid looks at me and tells me I am going to feel foolish when LeBron wins his third title with cleveland and I shake my head.
“Dude, they may make the finals but they aren’t going to win. Age catches up with everyone. ‘Bron isn’t going to have enough left to beat either team in the west. One championship is all he wins with the Cavs, might win a few more if he goes west.”
The kid shakes his head at me and I smile.
“Old men don’t know dick.”
“Trust me, we know Dick and we know Bo.”
“Bo? Who or what is Bo?”
This time I am the one shaking my head, maybe I am getting older,
The Choices We Make
If I was still in LA I wouldn’t make a Costco run on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend because it would be way too busy.
But I live in Texas and haven’t seen anything I consider busy so a quick run works for me.
As I walk in I see a couple I recognize from a synagogue I have been too a bunch of times. I think I have met them once, they are transplants too.
I try to remember their names Tim and Nancy Low or something like that…maybe.
It is a hot and muggy day and I am pushing hard to get this trip done as fast as possible so I don’t say hi.
Can’t say they would recognize me or know who I am, especially if I am not sure I remember their names.
People push past me to get to the cheesecake sample and then they do the same at the, beef links, hummus and tamales.
I don’t care if I eat some or all of these samples and so I sometimes reach the tray after it has been emptied.
Can’t hurt to save a couple of calories for a different time or so I choose.
As I wander the aisles I think about the quotes for cars and consider what serves me best. There is an SUV and a couple of sedans on the list and though there is no rush there is a choice to be made.
I know about choices and have spent quite a bit of time living with the ones I have made. Some have been smart and some have been less smart.
Some have made me smile and some have made me very sad.
Occasionally I have wondered about do-overs, second chances and new opportunities.
People say they don’t come along but I don’t have to agree with them anymore than I have to agree with where LeBron ranks.
All I have to do is live with said choices and if need be…pivot or adjust.
People may do so with me or they may not.
The one promise I repeat over and over is a refusal to let fear dictate what I choose or choose not to do.
Life doesn’t have to be lived as a zero sum game or viewed in black and white terms. There are shades of grey and sometimes the only way to get the opportunities we dream of is to step off of the board and color outside the lines.