LeBron James scored his 20,000th career point tonight against the Golden State Warriors, the youngest ever to reach that plateau. It’s an arbitrary number, really: The number of balls that have gone through a hoop during games. It doesn’t speak the sheer volume of balls that have gone through honing his shot, over and over again, learning, developing, expanding. Although I don’t believe LeBron’s focus on scoring points. He’s said so numerous times. His focus is on winning, doing whatever he can in order to make sure that his team is winning.
There’s a level of independence in LeBron’s accomplishment that I admire. He’s put himself in a position to win over and over again by going out on his own, not being afraid of being alone, being abandoned, being by himself. I’m not saying he did it alone, he’s certainly had the help and support of a group of people or he wouldn’t be where he is. But in contemplating the amount of effort, of time he’s spent sharpening not just his body, but his mind and their connection, listening to himself, learning himself…there’s something brilliantly independent in that. The amount of negativity, doubt, self-loathing, fear and nay saying that he’s had to endure and the staunch psychological confidence that he’s developed to excel at such a high level at such a young age is amazing.
As a codependence struggling with being emotionally present for myself, I admire that greatly. I get a little bit afraid when I think about taking steps as big as LeBron has. I worry a lot about letting people down, I worry too much about hurting people. I let my own concerns about the way that people might react to the decisions that I make. I let what I imagine people might say affect the decisions I make, and that is deeply bothersome to me. I understand that it is human to care what others think, but I need to give myself a chance to know what I think and want first, before I start to consider the people around me.
There is something to be said for excelling at a game. It is easier to quantify accomplishments. Although arbitrary, 20k is a milestone by which LeBron can measure himself. That quantifiability is, to some extent, accountability. For LeBron it is the accountability of his peers who, at this point, exist only in the pantheon. LeBron is playing against ghosts, which are even more intimidating that the imps that I battle with everyday; the looming legends that tower over him, growing larger by the day as rhetoric is poured over their altars. Those are big shoes to fill. Still, he has a ledger and he knows how to fill it.
It is harder, in everyday life, to find those milestones, those markers of accountability without them seeming futile or mundane. That is part of what the 365 is for me. To hold me accountable, to get me in the gym everyday. To work the muscles that I have. To establish this space that is my own, to nurture my independence and hone my focus and build my confidence. 365 is a long way from 20,000, but at the very least, it’s a start.