LeBron James, the greatest basketball player on the planet, took to Instagram to post a thank you note to the father who abandoned him as a child.
LeBron grew up in inner city Akron, Ohio, and was raised by single mother Gloria James.
But on Thursday morning, his open letter to his father, Anthony McClelland, was basically a quick thank you note for not being there. In the note, LeBron points to that being a key contributor to him excelling in life on and off the court.
He also added the comment:
Because of you Pops! Thanks all along. Could have said why me with u not being there but look what I made of myself. Thanks to Huffington Post for the graphic. #StriveForGreatness
LeBron's mom was only 16 when she had him, and he's always been adamant about thanking her for being there throughout his life.
This is the first time James has been this public about his biological father, and certainly the first time he's "thanked him."
LeBron, who is basically a walking media sound bite, is well aware of his importance. Every minutia of anything he ever says is analyzed, scrutinized, and torn to shreds by the media -- particularly ESPN.
So LeBron had to know the impact of this Instagram post had to make.
Some people might criticize the 4-time MVP for this.
O LOOK SOMEONE ALREADY HAS.
I get what LeBron is doing, but I'm not sure "kids are better off without dads" is the best message. http://t.co/aRUuVdQA4O— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) February 20, 2014
No doubt this is the sentiment of many (although the response has been mostly positive).
But we need to keep in mind who exactly LeBron is addressing here (other than his father).
He's addressing the countless inner city kids -- particularly boys -- who grow up without a father. LeBron is a self-made man, and while he 's blessed with the amazing skill to demolish foes on the basketball court, he had every reason to be a screw up and end up not fulfilling his potential.
No, the message isn't "kids are better off without dads."
The message is, "to those boys who were abandoned by their fathers, you can still make something great of yourself."
Good on you, MVP.