Eugene Cho

if i were lebron’s pastor

Lebron James via Nike

Whether you are a sports fan or not, you know about Lebron James. Recently, we’ve been bombarded by all things Lebron James and after months of prognostication – culminating in days of frenetic hype, panic, euphoria, and speculation – Lebron James made his decision to leave Cleveland and join the Miami Heat.

His choice to leave was a right he has earned as a free agent but since he spoke so much about speaking and receiving “counsel” from a small group of friends, family, and confidantes, I wondered this question:

If I were Lebron’s pastor, how would I advise him?

Truthfully, I don’t know if Lebron is a Christian or goes to church but that’s beside the point. I would advise him in the following 5 ways if I were his pastor:

1. Have you prayed? Have you sought the guidance of the Lord?
Seriously. I know this is cliche advice but it’s the most important question. Happiness is not the key. In fact, I think it’s over-rated.  Rather, what is your trajectory of purpose and obedience.

2. You’re not an island to yourself.
Ohio is your state. Akron is your city. Cleveland is your team.  Which community needs you more?

3. Persist. Have courage.
Lebron shouldn’t have to apologize for wanting to win championships. That’s the pinnacle for an athlete and it would make complete sense if Cleveland was a horrible team but they won the most regular season games for the past two years. Persist and have courage.

4. There’s more to life than Basketball.
And that means what it exactly says: There’s more to life than basketball. What would give you the best opportunity to influence your family, children, community, and world?

5. Humility.
I would remind him of this great quote from John Wooden:

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. … Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

How would you advise Lebron if you were his pastor or in the same community group?

Like him or not, he’s a fantastic player – a once in a lifetime player. Eventually, we all know he’ll win a few championships and he’ll end up on my famous list: Top 10 Basketball Players of All-Time.

* I’d also advise him to donate to One Day’s Wages.🙂

For the record, his earnings last year were $43,000,000 which makes his one day’s wages = $170,634.92. That would make a significant impact in our fight to empower those living in extreme poverty.


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17 Responses

  1. Adam Lehman says:

    Interesting take. I’m not holding a TV special to announce any decisions, but I’m in the middle of job transition. Thanks for posting. Reminds me that there are bigger issues that the salary attached to a job.

  2. I think the advice about there being more to life than basketball is really good, if only because that seems to be a huge blind spot in sports. Heck, there’s sports fans who can’t seem to see anything outside their game of choice. But one day, LeBron’s career will be over, and he won’t be an old man. He’ll have to figure out something to do to give his life meaning and purpose.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Robert Hartzell. Robert Hartzell said: if i were lebron's pastor « eugene cho: If I were Lebron's pastor, how would I advise him? Truthfully, I don't kno… […]

  4. Mitchel Lee says:

    Just think if all the pro athletes of the U.S. decided to tithe, could we have a legitimate shot at eradicating global poverty (at least in the short-term)? I think yes. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      NO, it wouldn’t eradicate global poverty but it would certainly make an impact. Just imagine the impact on their local communities.

      But why even look that far? Christians give about 2.2% on the average. Imagine if WE just tithed.

      • Adam Lehman says:

        That’s what I’ve been saying to all the Christians who’ve been railing on his greed and what he could do with the money. We could do the same.

        Sadly, I think if everyone tithed, we’d just have more staff and bigger buildings.

  5. Rich Griese says:

    Not sure whey Lebron James would have to get involved with praying.

    I think that anyone removed from a situation would remind someone to stay humble, that is pretty standard advice. In fact, most advice people already know, often it is simply a matter of being reminded of things in the heat of the moment.

    I guess you were kind of premising the set of thoughts with “if I was Lebron’s priest or pastor…” so I guess praying would be appropriate.

    My question would be why are pastor’s really of value. I think that supernaturalism is something from the past. While the Church did kind of by default combine services that psychologists, and even coaches now provide in the past. It seems now that those services are offered without the supernaturalistic baggage, that priests and ministers are really no longer needed.

    Cheers! RichGriese.NET

  6. CC says:

    Am I the only one that thought what Lebron did was fine? Yes, the special was over the top, but all the proceeds went to the boy’s and girls club.

    As a free agent he has the right to go to any team he wants and he was straightforward about it, nothing like when Boozer left for Utah after having cleveland let him out of his contract. And he will likely have to take less money to sign with Miami. So his motivation is winning rings. Can’t fault him for that.

    And to top it all off, the moment he declares, the cav’s owner immediately publicly lambasts him. I don’t remember Lebron ever saying that he would stay with the cavs forever.

  7. Bryan Todd says:

    wondering what kind of pastoral wisdom dan gilbert could have used?

  8. Hello Mr. Cho,

    How very refreshing to have stumbled across your blog. I actually located it while looking up the faith of Xzibit. I had no idea about his son. May God continue to provide the healing, strength, & courage needed for Alvin & the mother of Xavier to endure this pain (though we are 2 years behind the eight ball).

    Any way excellent blog here on Lebron & all celebrities, politicians & people in the public eye. It is amazing how the state of celebrity seems to take hold of even the best of the well rooted souls. One thing I always recognize is that it is very easy for all of us to sit back & pass judgment on celebrities as if all of us would be able to avoid the same pit falls. They are just like you & me, which clearly tells me that they too promised themselves, their family & friends they wouldn’t change. Guess what? They changed which further tells me its a force bigger than 90% of us. Agents, managers, fans, reporters, watching & broadcasting your every move. I have made some blunders in my life & if they had been broadcasted all over every media source feasible, I would be forced to either survive it by growing the toughest exterior possible (which would APPEAR snobbish) or I would crawl up into a ball & go into a cave. Given that I am not the type to crawl up…
    Awesome advice, I wish there was a way he & millions of others in a similar position could read your words of wisdom.

    God Bless & Stay Open to HIS Will

  9. […] Cho’s got a BALLER thought about how he’d advise Lebron James through THE […]

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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