LeBron James: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, By Sam Butler

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” –John 3:16

Roughly 1,950 years after Jesus’ death, on December 30th, 1984, He returned, this time in the form of an enormous, chiseled, basketball machine. It’s rarely discussed, and it’s a truth neglected by most, but it’s time to face facts. LeBron James is the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Yes, this is a bold claim. And I have a lot of explaining to do. But, first, I need to clarify some misconceptions about the second coming of Jesus that may be blinding you from the truth.

In Acts 1:11, the angels declared “Men of Galilee…why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” If you take the passage literally, it tells you that when Jesus returns, He will descend as He rose, from the clouds in a grand display, returning to the earth with trumpets blaring. Revelation 1:7 says, "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him,” implying that there will not be a person on earth unaware of his return. But, as too many fail to realize about the bible, this should be interpreted metaphorically.

How did we really see Jesus go to heaven? Well, when He died, He was nailed to a wooden cross. The implication here is that Jesus’ return, like his death, will be on the hardwood. (Like a basketball court? Perhaps.) The statement ‘He is coming with the clouds’ refers not to literal clouds, but to the symbolic meaning of clouds: the approach of rain. He will return during turbulent times, when the world seems lost, dark, and hopeless. (Like the dystopian year 1984 as predicted by George Orwell? Perhaps.) The phrase ‘every eye will see Him’ is simpler to analyze, as it is just a basic use of hyperbole. Obviously, everyone can’t witness the second coming. But many will, the bible claims, and when He returns, the world will take notice. He will be famous, the bible foretells. (Like second on the ESPN World Fame 100 Rankings famous? Perhaps.)

But what will the second coming of Jesus look like? Will it literally just be the same Jesus of Nazareth, returning to earth 2,000 years later as an ancient middle eastern man? I really don’t think so. If God is going to once again send his son to the earth, a reflection of Himself in human form, He’s sending the most physically imposing version He can make. (Like a 6’8”, 250-pound freak of nature? Perhaps.)

And what, exactly, is Jesus’ mission in his return to earth? 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” So, essentially, Jesus is coming back to bring the good people of earth to heaven with him. God, however, knows better than to judge from the outside. He wants to make informed decisions. He will once again send his son on a covert mission, to live amongst the humans and determine who among them is righteous.

Though He sent his son on an undercover mission, God couldn’t just disregard the signs of Jesus’ return foretold in the bible to help hide his son’s secret identity. The indicators are all still there. We just need to figure out someone who arrived on earth in a famously grim year, onto a hardwood surface, who is world famous, and is as close to perfect physically as one can be. (Like LeBron James? Definitely.)

The resemblance doesn’t stop there, though. The origins and lives of Jesus Christ and LeBron James have noticeable similarities. For instance:

Who is LeBron’s birth father?

Despite his immense fame, nobody knows who LeBron’s father is. Internet speculation has brought up the names Anthony McClelland and Roland Bivins, but these claims have never amounted to more than just rumors. Even the men themselves have never claimed them to be factual. Truth is, LeBron doesn’t have a birth father. Like Jesus of Nazareth before him, LeBron was conceived not by a man, but by the Holy Spirit. And nine months later, at Akron General Medical Center, He was born. God leaving his son without a father was not an act of neglect, but an intentional decision to propel Him towards his mission in life, as LeBron Himself points out.

“Dad, you know what, I don't know you, I have no idea who you are, but you are part of the reason I am who I am today. The fuel that I use—you not being there—it's part of the reason I grew up to become who I am. It's part of the reason why I want to be hands-on with my endeavors. Me in a position allowing people around me to grow, that maybe wouldn't have happened if I had two parents, two sisters, a dog, and a picket fence, you know?” –LeBron James

Both were hated in the prime of their careers.

The world wasn’t ready for Jesus’ messages of peace and love, and as a result He was hated for them so much that He was eventually crucified. After crucifixion, however, Jesus got his redemption, and is now probably the most famous, beloved figure in the entire world. Perhaps due to God wanting to leave us a hint about who among us is his son, LeBron James’ basketball career reflects this timeline.
  • His arrival as the Messiah, and his first miracle

o   Much like Jesus, LeBron burst onto the scene after a career of woodworking. Though Jesus had worked as a carpenter, LeBron’s woodworking involved dominating other teenagers on the wood basketball court of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. Once He arrived, like Jesus, LeBron turned heads with everything He did, his early work culminating in an unbelievable miracle. (For Jesus, turning water into wine. For LeBron, dragging the Cavaliers to the 2007 NBA Finals)
  • He becomes too good, and people’s hatred escalates until He is crucified

o   Jesus began performing miracles quite often as He worked to spread God’s message to the people of the world. Unfortunately, hatred from the Pharisees continued to build until Jesus was eventually tried and crucified, seemingly leaving his entire life’s work in shambles. LeBron’s miracles were finals wins, as within the first three years of his career in Miami, He had toppled the young Oklahoma City Thunder and the heralded San Antonio Spurs. But as his career thrived in Miami, his public image did quite the opposite. Cavalier fans burned his jersey, his former owner wrote a letter to the Cleveland fanbase denouncing a “cowardly” LeBron for his “betrayal.” After the 2014 Finals, when the Spurs returned to dismantle LeBron and Miami, it appeared that his life’s work, too, was in shambles.
  • Resurrection and Redemption

o   “The angel spoke to the women. ‘You must not be afraid,’ he said. ‘I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has been raised, just as He said. Come here and see the place where He was lying.’” (Matthew 28:5-6) On the third day after his death, Jesus rose, and in the eyes of many finally proved that He was the Lord. LeBron did much the same thing in his return to Cleveland. Like Jesus, LeBron forgave the sins of the fanbase that scorned Him and of the owner who denounced Him. He returned to where his career began, and two years later brought the city its first NBA Championship. “It’s over! It’s over! Cleveland is a city of champions once again! The Cavaliers are NBA Champions!” (Mike Breen, Game 7, 2016)

The Nickname

Revelation 19:16: “And on his robe and on his thigh He has a name written, ‘King of Kings.’” Wait—Jesus has the nickname King of Kings? Tattooed on him? Who would do that? Well, LeBron. Tattooed on his right bicep, James has the words “King James” to go along with a depiction of a lion’s head. The regal nicknames for both Jesus and LeBron show another key similarity: though neither is of actual royal descent, the world recognizes in them the divine right of kings. According to this divine right, kings derive their power not from their subjects, but from God Himself. What this means is that the right to be king is not something that is earned, but rather something that is bestowed at birth. LeBron is known as King James not because people decided to start calling Him that, but because He was given that distinction from birth by the Lord.

In a similar vein, LeBron has the words “Chosen 1” written in huge letters on his back. Though it is generally assumed that the phrase was tattooed there, nobody is sure, and in fact some speculate that it has been there from birth.

The connections that can be drawn between the lives of Jesus and LeBron aren’t the only hints God left to show us that LeBron is his son. The Bible has passages explaining what the second coming of Jesus will entail. Unsurprisingly, a few of these verses point specifically to LeBron James.

Revelation 19: 11-12: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He himself.” What this verse is stating is that when He returns, Jesus will be riding a white horse, returning to judge the good in people. His eyes will intimidate those who do not follow him, and He will be a king. King James checks all of these boxes.

LeBron’s white horse: a 2017 Kia K900. In a commercial that aired frequently throughout the 2017 Playoffs, LeBron drives through the rain in his white Kia, showing the world that despite the fact that He can afford a much nicer car, He is ‘Faithful and True’ to the official car of the NBA.

Judging the good in people: in the past, LeBron has used his leverage with the Cavaliers organization to do this. Along with his agency, Klutch Sports Group, LeBron helped teammate Tristan Thompson, someone He identified as good, earn a 5 year, $82 million contract. LeBron rewards the good, as God said He would.

His eyes are like blazing fire: This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

Revelation 6:17: “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” This verse shows us the fear within the men who hide from Jesus’ return.

But there’s no proof now that wicked men of the world fear LeBron James. Sure, wicked men of the NBA already fear Him. When He rises for dunks, players get out of the way, for they cannot withstand his wrath. But the wicked men of the world are not yet aware of his presence, as the bible said they would be. This apparent disconnect leads us to an important question.

Why is the second coming of Jesus Christ a basketball player?

The only answer we have to this is a rather unsatisfying one: God works in mysterious ways.

Truth is, we can’t know God’s plan. Even if we can deduce that his son is already among us, we don’t know why He is biding his time as a professional basketball player, rather than gathering the good men of the earth and bringing them to heaven. We can only guess.

Maybe LeBron isn’t the second coming of Jesus. Perhaps throughout history He has risen many times, each iteration deciding it wasn’t the right time to pull the good men from earth into heaven. It doesn’t say anywhere in the bible that Jesus wouldn’t come back more than once.

Or maybe God sent Him down early to judge the people of the earth, and LeBron is simply playing basketball to pass the time. LeBron Himself has acknowledged that the original coming of Jesus was a basketball player himself. On the Road Trippin’ Podcast, He said “There’s only three people in this world that can score on Me in the post: Shaquille O’Neal in his prime and … Who was it? Oh, it’s two, and Jesus Christ.”

Now, I understand the temptation to write off this entire article. I managed to string together some connections between Jesus Christ and LeBron James, sure, but I wasn’t able to explain why He was playing basketball instead of saving the righteous men of the earth. I wasn’t able to explain definitively why now was the time He arrived, or why Cleveland was the place, or why He’s yet to reveal Himself as the son of God.

But there’s a reason why I can’t explain these things. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)

It’s because nobody knows for sure. Perhaps not even LeBron Himself knows that He is the savior of the world. And if even He doesn’t know, then there’s no way we could know beyond the limited evidence we have.

That’s just the thing though. We shouldn’t need evidence. God loves us because of our faith in him. Jesus loves us because of our faith in him.

LeBron loves us, because of our faith.

“Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed, but blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” –John 20:29