LeBron James’ shaved head is a sign that he isn’t done yet.

Just days after losing the NBA Finals, LeBron James ended his social media fast (an act known as Zero Dark 23) and took to Instagram to reveal to the world that he decided to go bald. Ok, actually he didn’t shave it all off, but it’s the lowest cut he’s had.

While his change in appearance was met with responses like “Finally” or “It’s about time”, many (even Draymond Green, jokingly) took it as a sign that the three-time NBA champion made the decision because of the assumed stress he’s had in trying to defeat the Golden State Warriors.

While that may be true, considering that James did say that the Warriors add a lot of stress after defeating the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, his decision to go bald could be taken as a reminder to everyone that he is still the best basketball player in the world. Considering his 3-5 Finals record, it’s easy to eliminate LeBron James out of the discussion of all-time greatness and rightfully welcome the Warriors as “the next best thing”, but you have to get to the Finals eight times in order to have a 3-5 record. James has done just that for an entire generation. His seemingly effortless on-court dominance has been a key aspect of the league and for NBA fans everywhere.

Although it’s hard to understand, James’ greatness goes beyond his impeccable and “Oh my God, LeBron James isn’t human” stats. It’s his leadership that has prepared him to accomplish all of those feats. His leadership capability was proven way before he entered the NBA. In high school, James was just a freshman averaging 21 points and 6 rebounds when he led his team to a state title. In retrospect, it’s actually phenomenal that James has literally lived up to (and even went beyond) the expectations that were set for him.

His leadership capability obviously quadrupled in greatness when he came to the league. It’s a widely known assumption that LeBron James can take any team in the NBA to the Finals. Ok, maybe not the Sacramento Kings or the Philadelphia 76ers, but you get the point. Additionally, that assumption has been made every year since he took the the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Finals in 2007 before getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs. It was reiterated when he took a Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving-less Cavaliers to the Finals again in 2015 before losing to the Warriors in six games. He also led all players in the main five statistical categories during that series.

LeBron James has been at the pinnacle of the league for my entire childhood and teenage life. He’s been the face of the NBA ever since I was six. It has been seven years since I haven’t seen LeBron James in the NBA Finals; I was eleven then, as most in my generation were or near that age. LeBron James has been the player of most of my livelihood (so far) , and that, regardless of how skewed the NBA might be right now, isn’t easy to forget.

Thus, his baldness isn’t a sign of him slowing down; he’s just getting started. Who knows; bald LeBron James might be better than thin hairline LeBron James. It may mark a new era for him,  and I am ready to witness it (all while defending his honor on social media).

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