I'm an avid sports fan. I've subscribed to Sports Illustrated for almost ten years. I fully realize that SI has an increased interest in showcasing major sporting events as the end-all, be-all and lionizing its heroes as bigger than any other humans on the planet.
This is exactly what has happened after last night's jaw-dropping performance by NBA superstar Lebron James, who scored 25 consecutive points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Detroit Pistons in game five of the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Cavs win game six, they'll advance to the team's first-ever NBA Finals.
But I had to pause when I read a column by SI contributor Paul Forrester who wrote, "how many 22-year-olds have ever taken their team this far with this much responsibility?"
I can think of some 22-year-old Army lieutenants and single mothers who have sure led their "teams" to much higher places and with greater responsibility on their shoulders.
Case in point, by the time my mother was 22 years old, she had three boys whom she was basically raising on her own (my father left us around that time). Similarly, my best friend was just commissioned as an Army officer at 22 years of age, and not long thereafter was leading a platoon in Iraq's IED-loaded fields.
While my mother is black, my best friend is actually white, but that's neither here nor there. What's important is to understand that leadership and responsibility goes far beyond the basketball court.
Michael Jordan accomplished great feats against the Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks, but my mother certainly accomplished much more by raising three boys into men from such a young age. And my best friend is preparing another group of young men for another tour in Iraq.
Talk about leadership and responsibility.
So the next time I hear a journalist talk about the accomplishments of a 22-year-old, I hope it's a story about a single parent putting food on the table or a military officer bringing his soldiers back home.
Because those "teams" are far more important than anything the NBA Finals can match.