Listen, I'm not some great basketball expert but I'm a total word nerd, and I know poetry when I witness it. Whether it's on the page, on the stage or on a basketball court, when the scansion's on fleek and doesn't skip a beat, you've got to bear witness.
So, here's the scoop on the LeBron/Shakespeare thang. Watch the guy play. Seriously. I'll wait. Audio starts a few seconds in. If you're not a basketball fan, you can get a sense of the guy within the first minute of watching him, so just do that and I'll get on to how this helps you even if you've never seen basketball in your life. Bear with me on this. What I'm about to say will make so much more sense when you see this poetry in motion...
What LeBron and Shakespeare have in common is four-fold:
Seriously, if you've already left the blog because you're not a basketball fan, bye Felicia. You are about to miss some freaking epic brain food. If you're still with me, you rock. Here it is, my friend...
Shakespeare is known as the father of the sonnet form. OK. If you're a basketball fan and you hate Shakespeare, it's your turn to simmer down and listen. This is good stuff. Promise. And there's more basketbally stuff coming up later so sit tight.
As I was saying, Shakespeare is known as the father of the sonnet form. He's not though. He didn't invent it. He didn't even make it well known. Petrarch did that. What Shakespeare did was stamp his Shakespeareyness all over it. He branded the living proverbials out of that thing. The dude was a top marketer. He didn't just brand the sonnet form, and wrap it up in romance in a way that was more Hallmark friendly - and applicable to whomever the reader happened to love - than Petrarch, but he branded ROMANCE. He took a concept that was actually a cultural invention and made it seem so fundamental to human nature that we now truly believe it's inherently part of us. We think romantic love is as natural and innate as breathing. It's not. It was invented. I won't go off track sufficient to bring you the evidence of that because... I'm kinda romantic. I wrote a bestselling romance novel. Doesn't really fit my purposes to convince you I'm right on this one but, I am. Long story slightly shorter... Shakespeare extended his grip on the romance market with a little piece on doomed love called Romeo and Juliet, which is the template for ALL ROMANCE YOU'VE EVER READ OR WATCHED ON ANY SCREEN. Literally, every single one is either paying homage to it or trying desperately to reject it.
Even if you don't realise it, if you're a writer of anything romantic I promise Shakespeare influenced you. You don't have to have read or watched him. He's so epic that he changed culture so much that being in a culture he touched (which is any touched by English literature or the American movie industry) means he basically has real estate in your heart somewhere. Your DNA has undoubtedly been altered in part by many women in the past falling for men who reminded them of heroes from books, plays or films. And vice versa. Shakespeare owns you.
LeBron doesn't own you as such, but he's modelling Shakespeare's business strategy. He didn't invent basketball. He's not the first great player. But he's a student. Always. He plays homage to his mentors. He is, in my opinion, the absolute GOAT. The reason for that isn't just that he takes what his predecessors did and puts his own spin on it, or that he is so committed to improving his own game, but because he's just a better person. Where other great players have taken pleasure in humiliating other players and behaving badly off court, LeBron is a family man. He's with the same woman he's always been with, and he does everything in his power to raise up other people in his team. Not only that, but he does a huge amount of charitable work.
Aside from his charitable work, you just have to watch the guy play to see how generous he is. I can't find words that will do justice to it, so just watch...
We live in a narcissistic world, but there is 'good' narcissism and bad narcissism (my take on that, and why The Pope abolished hell here). It's a scale. It's easy to slide too far up it, but LeBron gets the balance as right as you can when you've been as famous as he has for as long as he has.
Shakespeare was the abso-freaking-lute GOAT of his time. No question. The dude ruled. In fact, prepare yourself for a moment of coincidence... Shakespeare wrote for two monarchs: King James I and Queen Elizabeth I. Ready? LeBron James has the nickname King James. King James I is my ancestor. Wooahhh! Over it? Cool. Let's move to the next bit. Even though Shakespeare was the GOAT, he didn't just write for the monarch. He wrote for every class in society. His plays were designed to cause different groups of people to have their own 'in jokes' at different times. He couldn't make society more 'fair', but what he could do was to build a theatre in which everyone was welcome, and to poke fun at the divisions so that everyone felt what he wrote was specifically for them. For a few hours, everyone was united in laughter or intense emotion of some other kind. And everyone felt heard.
Shakespeare built for the future. He massively over delivered. He was a master marketer. He had the ego to have a coat of arms designed for his family, but sit through one of his plays and you will feel his empathy too.
LeBron always believed in himself, but he hustled his butt off to make it happen. I could write a few paragraphs on that. It's maybe better to let you see him write to his former self. Some might see this self-congratulation as egotistical. I don't. It's beautiful. You should do this. I have. On a blog I started in 2008, I have subsequently left notes to my former self about how I accomplished her dreams. Read this...
Wanna be one of the first to Congratulate you on this accomplishment/achievement tonight that you’ll reach! Only a handful has reach/seen it too and while I know it’s never been a goal of yours from the beginning try(please try) to take a moment for yourself on how you’ve done it! The House you’re about to be apart of has only 6 seats in it(as of now) but 1 more will be added and you should be very proud and honored to be invited inside. There’s so many people to thank who has help this even become possible(so thank them all) and when u finally get your moment(alone) to yourself smile, look up to the higher skies and say THANK YOU! So with that said, Congrats again Young King 🤴🏾! 1 Love! #striveforgreatness🚀 #thekidfromakron👑
Shakespeare changed the face of storytelling. He changed the context of love. Because of him, in part, you fell for whomever you fell for (and you don't get out of this by being LGBTQ either, by the way, because he had that covered too). He also massively increased the English vocabulary. He created a theatre company and built a theatre for it. His legacy lives on.
LeBron hasn't just given money away to random charities. He's created his own foundation. He's created his own university. When it comes to putting out his hand and helping others to rise, he's a freaking badass.
So, I will leave you to contemplate the Bard and the Badass because this Bardess has some creating of her own to do.
P.S. If you're looking for a coach to help you release your own inner badass or Bard or Bardess, the details are here.
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