Yahoo – LeBron James took the opportunity to reflect on what [Martin Luther] King’s legacy means to him, and the importance of continuing to advocate for social justice a half-century after King’s death. He also discussed the challenge of doing so at a time in which President Donald Trump — whom the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player reportedly never mentioned by name — and other forces seek “to divide us.” From Scott Sargent of Waiting for Next Year:
“You always hear about people risking their life — [King] actually gave up his life for the betterment of all of us. To be able to live in a free world, and for us to be able to have a voice, to go out and be free no matter your skin color, no matter who you are — height, size, or weight, whatever the case may be. He had a vision and took a bullet for all of us. Literally — the rawest form you can say that. He took a bullet for all of us.
“For us to stand here right now, even though we’re trying to be divided by somebody, it’s a great day for people to realize how we all have to stand united as one. As Americans, we all know and believe this is the greatest country.”
As much as I like to give LeBron shit for all the diva antics he pulls, its generally just busting the chops of one of the greatest players of all-time. He seems like a genuinely good dude off the court. So when an athlete as prominent as LeBron James comes out more and more frequently to offer his thoughts and opinions on hot button racial and political issues its refreshing.
“Without specifically naming the president, James on Monday spoke about the need to stand firm in the face of racism no matter its virulence or the height from which it’s spoken. From Tom Withers of The Associated Press:
“The state of racism will never die, but what we cannot do is allow it to conquer us as people. We can’t allow it to divide us,” said James, the four-time league MVP. “The guy in control has given people and racism, and negative racism, an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear. And that’s the fearful thing for us because it’s with you, and it’s around every day. But he’s allowed people to come out and just feel confident about doing negative things. “We can’t allow that to stop us from continuing to be together and preach the right word of living and loving and laughing and things of that nature. Because would we want to live anywhere else? I don’t think so. We love this place.”
Good for him for using the platform he has to speak his mind on various issues in this country. That was one of the biggest gripes about the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. As amazing as he was on the court, the guy just wanted to ball out and sell sneakers.
And to all the people saying LeBron should “stick to sports” — pipe down. Those are the same people complaining that athletes give canned responses and don’t actually say anything of note in interviews. Can’t have it both ways. So its good to see athletes becoming increasingly vocal when they have more influence on culture than ever before.