By Joseph Green-Bishop
Texas Metro News Correspondent
Basketball great LeBron James is on target to become the all-time leading scorer in the history of professional basketball, surpassing the legendary Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who recorded 38,387 points during his career: a standard that has stood since April 5, 1984. James needs 36 points to surpass Jabbar.
And while his achievements on the basketball court are monumental, it is his social activism, his spotless personal life, his philanthropy, and willingness to protest injustice that is laudable to many fans of basketball in North Texas.
“LeBron James has advocated against discrimination of all types,” said Sameer Ahmed, a Dallas lawyer and president of MCC, a nonprofit healthcare concern.
“He has rightly used his platform to explore important social and political issues,” he said of James who has been in the NBA for 19 years.
Dr. Barry Lachman said that James’s achievements on the basketball court speak volumes. “He clearly remembers where he came from , and makes a point of contributing to the lives of others,” said Dr. Lachman, whose company, Lachman Community Development, promotes health equity in the southern sector of Dallas.
James, at 38 years of age, plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, the same team on which Jabbar played for two decades. He was raised in Akron, OH, by a single parent.
There were times in his young life when he and his mother were without a home, and survived on the kindness of others, James writes in an early biography. His net worth today approaches $1.5 billion.
An exceptional high school basketball player, James appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine when he was a teenager. He entered the NBA shortly after completing high school. Not wanting to leave his high school teammates behind, he brought them with him as his personal managers and business partners.
“Hopefully, I have made an impact that people can appreciate on and off the basketball court,” he said during a recent televised interview. “I live for my family, my friends, and my community,” said James, who met his wife, Savannah, in high school. The two have three children and reside in Los Angeles.
James, who has been a member on three different NBA championship teams, said that when he began his career he did not think of becoming the league’s scoring champion. “I wanted to be the league’s leading assist leader,” he said. “I have always wanted to see others excel.”
James, who is among the top five assist leaders in the history of the NBA, is one of the league’s highest paid players.
“I admire the way that he lives his life,” said Dwayne Cummings, a member of Concord Missionary Baptist Church who retired from Federal Express two years ago. “He is a man of God who is a passionate provider for his family and is a blessing in the lives of so many people,” Cummings said. “That is why he is a champion and a leader. We need more like him.”