“I'm coming home”
That’s how LeBron James ended the essay that he penned for Sports Illustrated. Four years ago he left Cleveland for Miami and he went on to go play with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in pursuit of a title.
Four years later… Mission accomplished! Not only did he win two titles and two MVP’s but he also matured.
"Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.
I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life."
He became a better man, father, and husband and this got me thinking about the concept of home. Like LeBron, TCKs have a period of time when they are away from “home” or their passport country. The concept of home is a very fluid concept for us TCKs simply because of the number of formative years we spent outside of our parent’s cultures but I do think it is important that we take the time to appreciate things from the countries that we’ve lived in.
"Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now…...When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio."
I think it’s important that we reflect on the positive things that have come from all the places that we have lived in and use those to fuel us into making a difference. LeBron James clearly realized that he had a bigger calling than basketball. One that involved inspiring hope in the youth and revitalizing a city. I think that’s noble and I think it is an incredibly brave decision especially given the fact that his move away from Cleveland was acrimonious and very unpopular.
"To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned -- seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?"
How many times do we as TCKs have bad experiences in countries we move to or our passport countries and vow never to go there because the people didn’t understand us. Sometimes it’s best to look at it from their point of view and then try to come to a reconciliation.
As TCKs we have an incredible gift to give the world whether it is in the form of education, bridging cultural gaps, or coming up with entrepreneurial solutions to world problems and I believe that we should all take advantage of that. It really is important that we all embrace our global identity and use it to our advantages.
Reading LeBron's essay, It is clear that home to him is where his heart is and his heart never left Ohio. Where is your heart? Where do you feel most at home? And what is your calling? Combine those two things and strive to make a difference because the fact of the matter is that you have lived many lifetimes as a TCK and you can put all of them to good use. For example raise awareness about the Nigerian girls back home, mentor the youth who struggle with growing up and coming to their own, start that business that will create more opportunities for people in your community, Start a shelter for those affected by tsunamis, typhoons, or hurricanes. Whether your definition of home is one place or it is many places, seek to make a difference and use your experiences to educate people.
"I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get. In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home."
Fellow Global Nomads and TCKs where is home for you and what are you doing to lead in your homes?
To read about LeBron James' other redemption story, click here.