Kyrie Irving is tired of living in the shadow of LeBron James and wants it all. The question he needs to ask himself is if he is ready for the weight of the crown. Alongside King James, Irving has been to three straight NBA Finals and won a championship. As in an integral part of winning that championship, he earned plenty of recognition and new fans. However, now it seems Irving wants it all; but is he ready?
Celebrated for his passion and skill of the game, Irving, the number two man for the Cavs franchise is seeking a trade to another team where he can be front and center. Passion in Latin is “Passio” and has an interesting definition. It infers an internal struggle or suffering. On the one hand, it is a suffering because the desire that is burning within is crying to be expressed and on the other, there is a struggle to position oneself in life to manifest it.
Like most, Irving is dealing with the concept of being stuck between his current position and his dream. As a star player, he is struggling because the internal passion is speaking constantly. However, with the right understanding of passion and the correct outlet and direction, he could navigate it better than seeking a premature trade. It all starts with the understanding that passion has stages and must be managed properly. Here are the four stages of passion and some suggestions on making it through with without a hasty transition:
Stage 1 – Unable to identify the true purpose: This is probably one of the more dangerous stages to stay too long in. When a person does not know the purpose of something, abuse is inevitable. The word abuse can be broken down from two key words; abnormal usage. Think about it this way, if the purpose for a tool in the garage is unknown, it is more likely to be used outside of its purpose – abnormally use it. When you do that, you run the risk of damaging the tool and injuring yourself. How many times have you walked away from a situation feeling your talents, ideas, and wisdom was misused? The reason is the other person involved probably had no idea of your purpose, so they abnormally used you.
Stage 2 – The need to prove a point: As we progress through the various stages of passion, you will eventually come to the place where you feel this overwhelming need to prove a point to the audience of naysayers who said you would fail. If you are not careful, you will land yourself into an “unhealthy” energy. Proving something to anyone other than yourself is an absolute waste of time and talent. Years ago a mentor told me something that changed my perspective on naysayers, “The only person you need to out work is the guy in the mirror.” You will find yourself spinning your wheels and getting nowhere if you are performing for the applause of others. Find solace in doing your best for yourself and watch how life will unfold.
Stage 3 – Self-Centered objective (I want it just for me): Here is where most reside. It seems harmless enough, right? After all, who better to achieve for than yourself. However, on a more conscious level, you can still miss the big point. In life, we eventually learn that we blossom when we engage in a purpose larger than ourselves. At our base, humanity seeks self-preservation. That is until we plug in with a vision beyond our reach. Many who have lived in stage 3 too long expressed their eyes opened when they started to volunteer or became a mentor. The bottom line is, we live in a great big world that needs our participation to touch lives.
Stage 4 – I want it for us: Now we are cooking! As the great Kareem Abdul-Jabar once said, “A good player wins games, a team wins championships.” In his book, “Tribal Leadership,” David Logan says when a person transitions from “I am great” to “We are great,” a global impact can be reached. Think back on some of your most memorable accomplishments, chances are they were directly connected to others. We are never at our greatest until we are connected to each other.
Truth is, Irving is a product of the era of hero ball. As a player, he is more like Allen Iverson or Kobe Bryant, than his current team leader, LeBron James. Even at the risk of leaving a team lead by NBA’s finest, he is searching for the glory.
Irving wants it all. He quills at living in LeBron’s massive shadow. Despite the many accolades and the nice salary, he still feels shortchanged. He may want it all, but is he ready? His passion for a crown might ultimately outweigh his current skillset.
Perhaps, the problem for the star baller is he is just entering his prime and wants to dominate the ball. Is Irving being selfish? Sure. However, he has found himself in the shadow of James on a team which was he originally promised. Resentment between the two is as natural as them getting run off the court by better players, such as the Warrior Big Three, who only care about winning.
Passion can be a tricky thing. Far too often, people flop around from thing to thing (or in this case, team to team) instead of patiently waiting for the stars to align. The truth is, passion will be an ongoing quest that unfolds little by little, as we step forward. Make up your mind today that you will fully express your passions to make the world we live in a better place even if it means being an amazing number two.
Sometimes, it is better to shine brighter at a lower level than to be dull in a high place. It takes a lot of courage to say, “I am okay with being an awesome sergeant rather than settling on being a mediocre general.” It is better for a person to shine in a place they are meant to be – even if only for a season – rather than forcing themselves into a position their skill set does not support. Only to waste time apologizing, while being miserable, for transitioning into a place they were not equipped or qualified to sustain. Perhaps, someone should tell Irving that it is okay to be number one in the number two position.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Bleacher Report: Kyrie Irving Just Can’t Wait to Be King
Vox Media: What Kyrie Irving’s trade request says about LeBron
All Images Courtesy of Erik Drost’s Flickr Page– Creative Commons License