Can Entrepreneurs Learn From LeBron James’ Career and Decisions?

LeBron James
Keith Allison / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sports are often looked at as a recreational activity more than the business it really is. Owners, coaches, and players are all part of a major business; in the US the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB are the major corporations and the coaches and players are the employees or contractors. While they’re never looked at this way, players are however entrepreneur-like; they take risks, make their own decisions based on self-interest, and what option better suits them in the long run. Current and future entrepreneurs can learn from the decisions players make, and LeBron James’ career is the best example.

The average fan’s perception of LeBron is that he’s a mercenary, jumping from one team to another to win a championship, instead of staying with one team and being successful with the organization that drafted him. However, his decision to leave Cleveland isn’t too different than an employee leaving his/her job to start a business, or an investor parting ways with a company that isn’t making money. LeBron has a goal, and that is to win a championship, whether that’s in Cleveland, Miami, or anywhere else that has a chance to do something great. We all have dreams and aspirations to run a business and grow it into something bigger to be successful, so why should a player’s situation be looked at differently?

The backlash LeBron got for leaving Cleveland is similar to how friends and even family look at our own decisions to start a business, be an entrepreneur, and not go the same route our predecessors traveled. In this case, Michael Jordan’s “loyalty” to the Chicago Bulls is the standard James is held to, but instead LeBron decided to be a man and make a decision that would change the NBA forever.

Just as successful business owners and entrepreneurs have set the standard for excellence, James has created a frenzy in the NBA, and every superstar wants the opportunity to create a super team and win championships. As entrepreneurs we dream of success, and players dream of winning the championship, that’s how fans should look at the decisions stars make.

In the final analysis, LeBron didn’t listen to critics for going to Miami, as we shouldn’t listen to the doubters in our own lives, but feed off that doubt and do something amazing. We are all meant to shine in our own way. For some, like Michael Jordan, staying with one team, or being an employee works. But for that one individual who is going nowhere and not reaching their goal, the decision has to be made, whether to play it safe and remain average, or start a business, become successful, and silence the criticism and doubt.

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