LeBron James is a lot of things, much to his own credit. Most famously, he’s a basketball player and a pretty darn good one too. As in, he’s up there with Michael Jordan good. Having played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James is the only player in NBA history to have won three championships with three different franchises, out of the four championships he has won total. He holds the record in all-time playoffs and is third all-time points and eighth in career assists. To put it succinctly, LeBron James knows how to play the hand God gave him (like me when I splurge my mobile casino bonuses).
And if that’s all there was to the man, I’d clap for him proudly and give him a double thumbs up. The problem is, LeBron James is a celebrity and a vocal one too. In fact, I’d go so far as to call LeBron James an activist. He regularly promotes political groups, movements, politicians, and world leaders.
And he has every right to, don’t get me wrong, but he’s influential, and his words have sway over his fans. So when he endorses X or refuses to condemn Y, these opinions get propagated to his followers, no matter how wrong or stupid they are in the first place (the opinions, not the followers).
Let’s break down some of the most atrocious things LeBron James has endorsed, condemned, or has stayed disturbingly quiet on.
LeBron James Knows Nothing About What He Endorses
You can find on YouTube a recent clip of an interview between LeBron James and a reporter. LeBron James holds in his hands a copy of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” while being photographed for whatever press tour he’s on.
The reporter asks him, quite reasonably, what was LeBron’s biggest takeaway from the book. LeBron ends up stumbling and mumbling through a half-baked answer before finally saying, “Um… very smart man… very, very, very, very smart man…”
Admittedly, he does say that he only started reading the book several days prior but come on, man. He couldn’t name one interesting thing in this book he supposedly read that he’s now going out and promoting? I don’t even really have any critics of Malcolm X either. It just grates me to see this immensely influential celebrity going out and promoting ideas and values he has zero understanding of.
LeBron Is Actively Promoting Misinformation About Our Boys in Blue
Infamously, the Derrick Chauvin trial ended with a guilty plea, sentencing Ex-Officer Chauvin to up to thirty years in prison (although it seems likely that Chauvin will succeed at filing for a mistrial, for a number of reasons I won’t get into here). On the day of the sentencing, a different officer in a different state shot Ma’Khia Bryant. In response, LeBron James tweeted a photo of the cop with the caption, “YOU’RE NEXT! #Accountability!”
Why is this a problem? Well, first of all, this impulse-tweeting basically doxxed the officer-involved before millions of people. Even if the officer was guilty of the crime he was implied to have done, he deserves due process just like every other criminal, rather than being thrown to wolves. The court of public opinion is quick to judge, quicker to punish, and even quicker to move on to the next fad of the day before any kind of defense could be made.
And oh, yeah, the cop did nothing wrong.
If you’re not familiar with the case, Cops in Ohio were called to the scene of a fight breaking out between two girls. The cops pull up to find Ma’Khia Bryant and others involved in a brawl, who ignore the officer’s warning. Ma’Khia has a knife in her hand, and charges another girl, and is mid-swing when the officer shoots her, saving the other girl’s life.
In other words, if the officer hadn’t shot Ma’Khia, he wouldn’t have been doing his job, and he would have failed in his duty to protect the citizens of the state of Ohia. And where would LeBron James be if Ma’Khia had stabbed and killed someone, and the cop hadn’t done anything? He’d probably tweet about how the cops refused to save a black girl’s life.
LeBron James promotes misinformation that has a measurable, harmful impact on those he condemns because he’s too ignorant or too politically motivated to get to the truth.
LeBron Plays Ball With China
LeBron James seems to take any and every opportunity to take a shot at America. Whether it’s kneeling for the pledge, endorsing politicians who blatantly disregard the values the country was built on, or promoting the lie of the day to earn political clout, LeBron James seems to have nothing nice to say about the country that made him rich.
Meanwhile, you’ll never hear a word out of LeBron’s mouth about the atrocities and the human rights violations that are going on in China. Sure, he might be more concerned about what’s happening within his home country than the goings-on of a country on the other side of the planet… but most people aren’t also raking in millions from the said country either.
So while LeBron James is busy boycotting the American Anthem of condemning America as “systemically racist”, he still continues to play for the NBA in China – the same China currently imprisoning, sterilizing, and otherwise massacring Uighurs in concentration camps.
The same China that uses prisoners as slave labor. The same China that sells human organs on black markets taken from said prisoners. The same China that equips soldiers with helmets that can be detonated remotely by commanding officers. The same China that has continuously been obstructive and misleading throughout the pandemic.
In other words, LeBron is actively making race relations and policing worse stateside while conveniently ignoring actual, horrific atrocities being committed elsewhere because he’s raking in millions of dollars a year from those responsible. There’s a whole train of evidence you can follow to prove it.
LeBron James has a billion-dollar deal going on with Nike, which has massive sales in China. The Chinese market is immensely desirable for Western companies, especially companies like Nike. According to USA Today, Nike’s Shoe Sales in China have doubled in the past five years while they have remained flat here in the West.
Problematic Levels Are Off the Charts
LeBron James has proven himself to be another example of an ignorant celebrity spreading misinformation about important issues while conveniently ignoring real issues if it’s inconvenient to his pocketbook. While it’s not a crime to hold an opinion, being a celebrity gives one’s words a level of power and sway that should be used responsibly. As a certain web-headed hero once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”.
I understand that being a celebrity puts athletes between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t comment on an issue, they’re seen as ignoring XYZ and just protecting their brand. On the other hand, if they do become outspoken, then they possibly lose the favor of anyone who holds the opposite worldview. I freely admit to being in the opposite camp as LeBron James, and I hope I’ve adequately covered why you should be too.
The world doesn’t need more ignorant mouthpieces. We’ve got more than enough politicians to fill that role. What the world needs are inspiring role models who prove that anyone can be great. LeBron James IS such a man, whether you agree with his political opinions or not. He’s a hugely successful basketball player, a millionaire, and a minority. If he’d just stop staying stupid things, he would truly be an inspiration for many to follow.
This post has been contributed by Jennifer Johansson