He might have the richest sports endorsement deal in history, a burgeoning acting career (Trainwreck and the upcoming Space Jam 2), and a third NBA championship ring in his collection, but LeBron James isn’t above a little of the grunt work.
Even picking up dirty laundry.
Case in point: After scoring 15 points in the first quarter and leading the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers over the Philadelphia 76ers, 108–105, in a preseason game, James was in the locker room of Quicken Loans Arena, going full dad mode by scooping up dirty socks and stray laundry bags from around the room.
Again: This is from a guy who got paid $1 billion by Nike for an endorsement deal.
“Hopefully I only have to say something once,” James said in front of Cleveland.com reporter Joe Vardon, long after every Cavs player but Kyrie Irving had left The Q. “Can’t leave the locker room like that.”
The four-time NBA MVP, who is famously deferential to his teams’ support staff, not only took his own laundry bag to the locker room attendants, but also “five or six” of his teammates’ bags as well, Vardon reported. “It’s as though James bending over and picking a teammate’s sweaty socks off the floor was also a metaphor for the preparing the team still needs to do for the long journey ahead,” Vardon writes.
And sure, there’s a good sports lesson in James’s conduct—a veteran superstar holding his teammates accountable for the little details ahead of what will likely be another Finals run from the East. But maybe the big takeaway, at least for now, is this: Most of the time, dirty locker room talk revolves around sweaty socks—even for guys who manage to earn a $1 billion with a single deal.
“Still got some more work I need to do,” James said. “We still got more work we need to do.”