When you have the greatest basketball player on the planet giving you words of wisdom, encouraging you after a brutal defeat and dissecting your fight, you know you’ve crossed mainstream lines that most in mixed martial arts (MMA) arena could have never imagined.
After Ronda Rousey suffered a devastating 48-second knockout loss to Amanda Nunes in the main event of UFC 207 (see it again here), the MMA, entertainment and overall sports world reacted differently, with some mocking the former champion, while others offered words of comfort.
Lebron James, forward for the NBA world champion Cleveland Cavaliers, offered up his thoughts on "Rowdy’s" crushing defeat to "Lioness," saying he knows exactly what it feels like to get torn down, as he’s been there before.
"In sports, in general, they build you up as high as they can, put you on the highest mountain in the world, just to tear you down," James told Ohio.com via MMA Junkie. "That’s coming from somebody who has experienced it. And that’s exactly what she’s going through right now. That’s a fact. I know exactly how she feels because I was that athlete. I went through that."
Indeed, James quickly went from hero to villain after he left the Cavs back in 2010, opting to join the Miami Heat to round out a trio of superstars which included Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. Though he enjoyed success, the team ultimately fell in the Finals their first year together.
Still, James couldn’t the non-stop criticism for leaving his hometown team in search of a title, which he eventually did, winning back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013 with the Heat. It was all a part of a bigger picture, according to James, as he says critics only focus on the immediate results.
"You don’t know her mindset," James said. "You don’t know the drive. Is the drive still there? You don’t know. But you can tell that it’s built and built and built and built and built. They always make the teardown story more important than how long it took for her to actually get to the mountaintop."
In 2014, Lebron came back to Cleveland, and went on to win a title in 2016 after a historic comeback against the Golden State Warriors following a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, earning MVP honors along the way and becoming the crown jewel for the league, once again.
Whether or not Rousey bounces back like "King James," remains to be seen. One thing is certain, she hasn’t closed the book on attempting it, just yet.
For complete UFC 207 results and coverage click here.