Whether you believe he belongs in the same sentence as Michael Jordan or not, it’s impossible to doubt LeBron James’ place in basketball history. Ever since bursting onto the scene in high school, King James has been a dominant force on the hardwood. No matter where he’s played over the past 17 NBA seasons, the forward has consistently been successful; that reality has made him a massive presence in the world of popular culture and business, too.
While LeBron James admittedly has plenty of natural talent, that’s not the only thing working for him. At the end of the day, the NBA star also has a simple mindset that helps him succeed.
LeBron James has had an incredibly successful basketball career
For almost 20 years, LeBron James has been living life under a microscope. Despite that constant pressure, the forward hasn’t missed a beat.
While James showed plenty of talent on his high school’s football team, he truly shone on the basketball court. Before long, the national media had descended on St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, hoping to get a glimpse of basketball’s next big star. Even as a teenager, LeBron had no problem performing under pressure.
After graduation, King James became the first-overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft. From the first moment he hit the floor as a professional, he lived up to the hype.
Although things haven’t been completely perfect—The Decision, for example, painted LeBron as supremely self-interested—it’s impossible to argue with James’ overall resume. During his time in the association, he’s won three championships, four MVP awards, and countless other individual honors with few signs of slowing down; based on the 2019-20 campaign, even Father Time seems unable to stop King James.
Dominating beyond the basketball court
LeBron James isn’t only a dominant power on the basketball court, though. His star status has helped him find success in plenty of additional arenas.
Purely from a financial perspective, King James is a force to be reckoned with. According to Spotrac’s financial data, he’s made just under $307 million in salary during his time in the NBA; that money, combined with some hefty endorsement deals, has allowed him to make several smart investments. LeBron owns a piece of Liverpool FC, scored big on Blaze Pizza, and earned millions from Beats headphones.
The forward doesn’t just hoard his $480 million net worth, though. James used some of his fortunes to help keep Muhammad Ali’s legacy alive; he’s also the co-founder of SpringHill Entertainment, which aims “to give a voice to Black creators and consumers who’ve been pandered to, ignored, or underserved.” King James has his own foundation and, in recent months, has been working to help fight voter suppression.
LeBron James has a surprisingly simple key to success
Whether you love him or hate him, it’s impossible to argue with LeBron James’ career; he’s found plenty of success both on and off the basketball court. According to the forward, everything starts with one simple mindset.
In a clip from More Than an Athlete, James shared his “secret to success.” While he’s branched out beyond the basketball court during his career, he knows where his bread is buttered. Everything starts with his craft; once that’s in order, everything else can grow organically from there.
“What allows us to be as powerful as we are too is because we keep the main thing the main thing and that starts with me,” he explained. “Like if I was a s–t basketball player, none of this would be possible. You know, if I would’ve come into the league and was like, ‘OK. Yeah, I’m the number 1 pick.’ and you know, ‘We here now. Give us it all.’ Like people would be like, ‘Get out of here.”
“Like I had to put work in,” LeBron continued. “And I’m still putting in work. Because that’s just who I am. So like, we kept the main thing the main thing. The main thing is basketball, and we never lost track of that. I never lost track of that. And once that thing is taken care of, then the sky is the limit.”
While most of us don’t have the natural basketball talent of LeBron James, that’s a lesson we can all take to heart. Keep the main thing, whatever it may be, the main thing, and success will follow.