LeBron James: Can We Compare Pains?
By: Neil Siskind
After winning the NBA Championship, LeBron James, in a post-game interview, talked about his trials and tribulations and the struggles he overcame to reach his goal. Certain sports analysts are taking umbrage with LeBron’s comments, saying that LeBron is a physically-gifted person with a lot of money and success who has achieved great things and should not feel that he has been through extraordinarily-difficult challenges. Such analysts site, for example, that James has not had it as hard as construction workers working in 100 degree weather, firefighters who run into burning buildings, sanitation workers hanging off the rear of garbage trucks in the dead of Winter, or people with chronic illnesses.
Is this fair?
Can we compare people’s pains? Is pain relative?
Certainly LeBron James has a “materially” successful life, and has had such for many years now. And he has earned his money playing sports- quite a privilege. But the fact of the matter is that LeBron James grew up without even knowing who his father is. Who is to decide if his pain is valid? His pain, like any other person’s, can not be diminished. Moreover, pain is subjective. What is simply a bad situation for one person may be a completely demoralizing and debilitating agony for another. It is subjective- and rightly so.
A life without a father can not be measured and compared with another kind of challenge. If LeBron feels that he has pain and had to overcome pain- then that is the end of the commentary. No one can tell LeBron, or any other person who has no father, that he doesn’t deserve to feel the level of pain that he has experienced from the void. Even if a person’s pain is overblown…it is still “his or her” pain to overcome. If in “his or her” mind it is a lot of pain- then- simply by definition- he or she has overcome a lot.
It is not a matter of who has more pain- it a matter of who feels challenged, or damaged, or hurt- and how much it took for him or her to get past it. Every person has the right to celebrate such success.
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