Lebron James: A Hero's Journey

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, all names that come to mind when thinking about basketball’s greatest players. But LeBron James, is perhaps the one that stands above them all. His trip from a hard childhood in Akron, to high school stardom and becoming one of the most decorated NBA players of all time is often regarded as a hero’s journey. The concept of this 12 step journey was originally created by Joseph Campbell as an archetype for heroes in literature, particularly mythology. The hero's journey LeBron James took to become the greatest basketball player of all time draws comparisons to those of mythological heroes.
The opening step in the hero’s journey for LeBron was his ordinary world. Campbell stated that if “you're going
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But with the constant movement from home to home, the process became tiring for Kelker. This lead to his decision to invite LeBron and Gloria to come live with him. This lasted for several months, until they had to move again. This time, LeBron moved in with another football coach named Frank Walker, while Gloria moved in with a friend. It is here where LeBron would begin to learn the game of basketball. He thrived throughout his young years, making his school’s varsity team as a freshman. It is on this high school team where the next step of LeBron’s journey, the call to adventure, would occur. Campbell described this step as the moment when the “hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure” (Vogler 2). This challenge would be to thrive despite the excessive, perhaps unwanted attention. LeBron would come into the national spotlight early on in his high school career. By the time he was a sophomore, he had led Saint Vincent-Saint Mary High School to back-to-back state championships and had been named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball. His fame reached new heights during his junior year when he featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated next to the words “The Chosen One”. But with all of the attention, his mistakes were bound to be …show more content…
Campbell illustrates this as when the hero “fully enters the special world of his story for the first time” (Vogler 2). For LeBron, that special world was the NBA. To almost no one’s surprise, he was selected first overall in the draft by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. The constant attention he received in high school continued to grow at a rapid rate. Before he had even made his NBA debut, LeBron signed a $90 million deal with Nike. On top of all of this, LeBron was being compared to one of the games all time greats, Michael Jordan. Ever since Jordan had retired in 1999, interest in the NBA had been on a steady decline. Even with the likes of Kobe Bryant and others, the league was still looking for a superstar to put the NBA back on top of the professional sports mountain. They believed, along with many others, that they had found it in LeBron. James lived up to the hype in his debut. It was noted that he “played better than most rookies could hope for in a debut game—and better than any rookie straight out of high school—with twenty-five points, nine assists, six rebounds, and four steals” (UXL Newsmakers). Throughout his time in Cleveland, LeBron would encounter many tests and helpers, the next stage in the hero’s journey. Campbell defines this stage as a time when the “hero is forced to make allies and enemies in the special world, and to pass certain tests and challenges” (Vogler 2). LeBron

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