LeBron James appeared as “The Chosen One” on the cover of Sports Illustrated February 18, 2002. He was 17 years old. From the start, biblical language and imagery has been used to describe “King James.” Nike only capitalized on this with its “We are witnesses” advertising campaign. Like it or not, we are. We have been.
LeBron was not the first to make the leap from high school hoops to “The Association,” yet the hype around him was unprecedented. As a high school teacher and coach, occasionally I have a student or two who during their junior year already looks like a D-1 athlete. This student-athlete however is exceptional (as LeBron was! A burning question I hold is: Just how good was he as a high school football wide receiver?! Can I get a witness?). Regardless, Division-1 collegiate athletics is a far cry professional sports. I can’t imagine being his teacher and reading “High school junior LeBron James would be an NBA lottery pick right now” on the most popular weekly sporting magazine, only to grade his papers an hour later. Since the fateful day LeBron was chosen as the number one draft choice, we all have served as witnesses to his promise and potential. I would like to think we rejoice in such God-given talent and abilities.
Being a witness however has implications; it requires a great many things. From the “Witness Protection Program” to the famous rock ‘n’ roll diddy that asks: Can I get a witness? we understand that responsibility and truth go hand-in-hand with the act and call to bear witness.
In terms of our faith, it was on this day, Pentecost, that Peter said God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses.—Act 2. Jesus kept his promise—he sent the Holy Spirit. John 14: 16-17 says I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth. The disciples no longer merely had the potential to preach the good news. Once the Spirit came to them, they were not afraid. They saw the life of Jesus in a new light; they could say with confidence “Jesus is Lord.” I rejoice in that realization. It is something I work every day to understand and like the Nike campaign says to “believe.”
What have you witnessed? Isn’t this why we go to live sporting events? When have you served as a witness? Isn’t this why we follow certain players and teams—so we can testify to the truth that they are what all the hype is (or is not) proclaiming. And what has being a witness led you to proclaim?
LeBron: We are Witnesses