It has been almost a decade since the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat to capture their first NBA Championship in franchise history. This was a historic moment in Dallas’s sports history, and since then many marquee players have retired on both sides. This includes the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Jason Kidd.
As for former Heat forward LeBron James, he is in his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers and looking to win a championship with his third different team. Earlier this week, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke with Fanatics View and was asked how he felt LeBron has grown since facing the Mavericks in the finals in 2011.
Mark Cuban Says LeBron James Went ‘Hollywood,’ but in a Good Way
“He has gone Hollywood,” said Cuban. “I think LeBron’s greatest growth has come off the court. He was a confident but unsure kid when he came into the league, and now he is a social icon. There have been a lot of great players who haven’t chosen to take that route or were unable to take that route.”
“LeBron has done it by having good people around him but also picking his spots. I think what sets LeBron James apart from a lot of socially conscious athletes is he knows when to wait for his pitch, and he knows when to swing. ”
Cuban continued his praise of James and what he’s done with his career off the court.
“And that is difficult; it’s hard to have patience with things that are important to you because it is always in you to speak out and say something. However, he has done a stellar job, I mean an incredible job of waiting for the right moment,” said Cuban.
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LeBron James Opens I Promise School
One of James’ biggest accomplishments off the court to date has been the opening of the ‘I Promise School’ through his foundation, which opened on November 4, 2019, in Akron, Ohio. The school is geared towards at-risk third and fourth graders and guaranteed paid tuition to college for those participants in the program.
“Initially, our work was focused on helping these kids earn an education. But we’ve found that it is impossible to help them learn if they are struggling to survive — if they are hungry, if they have no heat in the freezing winter, if they live in fear for their safety,” James said in a statement. “We want this place to be their home where they feel safe, supported, and loved, knowing we are right there with them every step of the way as they get back on their feet.”
ESPN’s NBA analyst Chinenye Ogwumike spoke about James opening the school last year.
“That is the ultimate gift that you can give to kids. Not giving but teaching and learning – that is the best way you can transform people’s lives. The fact that he is doing it with money, his time, family, and friends that is the legacy athletes have,” said Ogwumike.
“A lot of people say athletes should stick to the game and ‘we should shut up and dribble.’ Well, you know what? They have platforms and they are able to reach people and that is a powerful thing. The fact that he is going to help kids and the generations to come is amazing. If we had more individuals doing that our society would be in a much better place.”