While LeBron James can be categorized as calculated and well-planned, his actions during the break of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night were anything but. Between play, with the home audience being treated to a bevy of commercials, the crowd at the Garden was treated to a story about a 16-year-old child named Aaron Miller who overcame severe brain damage to become a two-sport athlete at a local Boston school.
Coming out of a timeout after Miller was acknowledged with a standing ovation at half court at TD Garden, James sought Miller out courtside for a brief interaction. After the game, James returned and gave Miller his game-worn sneakers.
“I wasn’t able to hear the whole story because I was in the game and Coach was drawing up the play,” James said. “But I looked up by the JumboTron and I saw what [Miller had] been through and where he is now. I think the doctor said he would never walk again or talk again. … I looked up there and right from there, it became so much more than basketball.”
The box score will have James scoring 24 points and pulling down seven rebounds, but it’s this story that will stand the test of time. While James has managed to be a part of these types of stories over his 13-year career, the last two seasons have produced a handful of moments that have, to borrow a phrase, been so much more than basketball.
James stated that when he saw the easy-entry sneakers on Miller’s feet that he felt like he “was a part of him” and that the gesture was not so much for the media or for the fans, but for Miller himself.
Judging by Miller’s expression when LeBron surprised him, the message was clearly received.