King Hater to King Fan


The Hate Before

If we were attacked by aliens, and we needed to play a basketball game to save the world (hmmm, that plot seems eerily familiar), no doubt, the planet would put Lebron James on that team. 15 years in the NBA, and he is still arguably the best player in the world. You take his career stat sheet, or a look at his resumé of achievements, or even just the contracts or the influence he has worldwide. This man is a walking definition of success. 


And I hate him. Well, I used to.

But I’m not here to write about hate.

In fact, I wanted to write about the opposite. Admiration.


I stopped hating Lebron James. Watching him this year was just purely moving. Usually, when we talk about LBJ, there’s always a lot of controversy. Rumours of him wanting to leave (yet again), or of him overstepping his boundaries as a player and coaching and managing his team. Many of which are never completely proved, most of which are heresay, some of which are totally irrational. Sometimes, I think it’s media sensationalism. More controversy for the supposed “best player in the world”, equals more publicity, and more papers and magazines flying off the stands. Sometimes, I think it’s pressure that he has to put up with, that’s why people view and critique him with such close, attentive eyes and ears. Sometimes, I think it’s flawed decision making, maybe because of the previously mentioned. 

But what’s not in question is this guy’s ability. 

I remember watching game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between Cleveland and Boston. Lebron took over that game. Almost on every play, he would come roaring down the court, laser locked focus in his eyes. The camera would cut to a reaction of the Celtics defense, and you could see it in their eyes, they were on edge, and unsure if they could stop Lebron; armed with his pinpoint passes, exceptionally difficult fade aways, dagger threes, and out-of-nowhere blocked shots.

I watched as Lebron put up an amazing stat line, but more importantly, I saw how every action of Lebron made an impact on the audience. This guy plays, and fans in the arena are clasping their hands over their heads, or hiding their faces, or dropping their shoulders in disbelief. That is if they’re rooting for the Celtics. But if you’re a Cavs fan, you’re certainly screaming, jumping, or possibly speechless. Then comes the play where Marcus Morris umbrella hangs himself over Lebron. Whistle blown. Foul. Shot goes up. It rattles in. The crowd goes wild. 

It was poetry in motion. One move, and it changes the entire atmosphere.

And this is why I stopped hating him. I think any guy whose moves can influence others easily, deserves some respect. Leadership is all about influence.


In the office, most people would always look to the influential leaders. Leaders who can walk the talk, leaders who work hard to create sizeable results. Leaders who can motivate the group with a few encouraging words. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, and the intense grind, leaders that can move people with their words or actions, are invaluable. They can dictate the tempo and the direction of the company. More than anything, when they are leaders worth following, they become the force that determines whether goals are achieved or exceeded.

In the same breath, there is also a familiar phrase, “The flaws of the leaders are the flaws of the company.” Indeed, leaders who are in position, but at the same time make bad decisions, or suck energy can derail the company they’re in. It is of absolute importance to always keep leaders in check, and there are several ways to do this. One common way is setting up a transparent and comprehensive feedback looping system, in order for the leaders to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. For the Cleveland Cavs, it’s the film room session, and for the office, it can be the board room session. At times, it might be a painful lesson to the leader, but more often than not, this pain leads to growth. Great leaders are born and made. Some are born with innate abilities to be influential. But for others, it takes a little bit of work.

In a way, Lebron wasn’t always the leader he is now. There was a time when he was making more blunders than blessings, more gaffes than gifts. But I believe, he is no longer that guy.

He is now the game changing king.

For more information on how you can develop leadership influence in your company, refer to our section on our Leadership programs. To learn more about them, kindly call (contact details) or email You may also visit or

Sources:,,, The Boston Globe,,, USA today

About the Author

Cherry Africa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *