LeBron James was on the cover of the November 2007 issue of Men’s Health magazine. What’s cool about this magazine package is that not only do you get to read an inspiring article about LeBron, skillfully written by Mike Zimmerman, but you also a free, exclusive poster of LeBron’s Secret Workout. The poster also gives stats on LeBron’s work-out, like the fact that he can do 20 pull-ups at a time, he spends five minutes jumping rope as a warm-up to his weight-lifting routine and it takes him 30 minutes to complete his weight-training workout. If you want to be like LeBron, this is a tangible way to start. The other way to mirror King James – and this applies to exercise and life – is “commitment.” LeBron says in Men’s Health, “Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe. How committed are you to winning?”. The article is very long, but here are some of the interesting points:
See, James plays hoops from talent, but the rest of his achievements come from will. You have a job from talent. But your position in life–your fitness level, your wealth, your reputation–comes from will.
He’s an all-star, an ambassador of his game, a savvy off-court talent (witness his Nike TV spots and this year’s Saturday Night Live hosting gig). He’s also a businessman, community advocate, role model, and father to two sons. He’s what we wish our great athletes to be. But collecting superlatives is not the most amazing part of his story. Try this: He’s 22.
The average 22-year-old male is, as we speak, staring out the front window of his fraternity house, a beer buzz in his ears, wishing he could stay for 3 more years. But what of the achievers? The thousands of motivated 22-year-olds out there applying to med schools, eyeing MBAs, or maybe busting ass in a meaningful (low-pay) internship? All of those talented, brass-ring-grabbing men have much to be proud of and yet still have to polish up resume’s with nothing on them but test scores and student-government presidencies.
We’re not saying LeBron James is remarkable for his “God-given talent,” as he calls it. Many men are blessed with professional-grade abilities. We’re saying that to take what he’s been given and invest it in something greater, to operate at an elevated level among his peers, and to do so in the face of world-class pressure and media expectations before he could even take a legal drink, is remarkable. And it’s worth further study.
“I grew up and had a sense of direction because I made my mind up early,” says James. He describes this fast maturity as a two-stage event. The first came on the court in eighth grade: his virgin dunk. “Every year at our middle school we had a teachers-versus-the-basketball-team game,” he says. “I’d never tried one before. I just went up there and got one down. Bam! Everybody went crazy.”
“I laugh and joke, but I don’t get distracted very easily,” he says. “I never really did. I had a dream in high school and no one was going to take it away from me. I mean, you have to be rabid about that. And now that I’m here, I’m not going to take it for granted. You have to be rabid about that, too. I’m going to use all my tools, my God-given ability, and make the best life I can with it.”
“Commitment,” he says. “Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe. How committed are you to winning? How committed are you to being a good friend? To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model? There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are you committed, or are you not?”