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LeBron James Takes 'L' With China Comments Despite Stellar Track Record on Issues

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

Heavy is the Head That Wears the Crown: ‘The King’ Took an L


“The King” LeBron James took a loss after he criticized Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for speaking out in favor of Hong Kong protestors, fighting for democracy in China.


Therefore, the criticism he has received this week for obviously putting profits before people in China should come as no surprise since he has remained vocal about issues affecting African-Americans in his country.


Basketball icon James has represented a dream come true for Black America.


James is a modern athlete with the talent and consciousness of Muhammad Ali and the money and power of Michael Jordan.


From the beginning of his NBA career, James proved that money did not represent his only concern.


He has constantly spoken out against police brutality and the crazy things that come out of the mouth of President Donald Trump, not to mention the money he has spent sending underprivileged students to college.


James has been everything that African Americans wanted Jordan to be despite Jordan’s apparent reluctance to speak out on political issues.


But recently in China, James had a Jordan moment.


When asked to support a Black Democratic politician back in the day, Jordan refused infamously saying that Republicans buy sneakers too.


Despite all that Jordan has done to help the community like co-financing Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” biopic to helping those devastated by hurricanes in his home state of North Carolina, Jordan has never really escaped that aforementioned sound bite.


Therefore, when James called Morey’s since deleted tweet supporting Hong Kong protestors “misinformed,” telling reporters that Morey “wasn’t educated” on what the Hong Kong protestors were fighting for he had the biggest gaffe of his career.


“So many people could have been harmed not only financially but physically, emotionally and spiritually,” James said. “So just be careful with what we tweet, and we say, and we do.”


After receiving criticism for putting profits over people, James tried to clarify his statement to reporters in Los Angeles.


James tweeted, “Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications for (Morey’s) tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that.”


But despite the tweet, James only reinforces the fact that he is caving to the powers that be in China so he does not lose money out of his wallet.


That is the definition of selling out.


For the last three years, many African-American activists, athletes and entertainers have blasted the National Football League (NFL) for blackballing former quarterback Colin Kaepernick for protesting police brutality and systemic racism by taking a knee during the national anthem.


Many called the NFL out for caving to sponsors and White season ticket holders and not standing up for Kaepernick’s First Amendment rights.


People went in on networks like ESPN for not broadcasting the national anthem for fear of alienating some of their viewers.


Critics of the NFL basically called the 32 owners a bunch of cowards for not having the onions to do what is right even if it meant losing money.


It is funny how everybody is self-righteous and conscious and woke when it comes to losing money for other people.


But the minute they might lose some money, they are no longer militant.


We saw the same thing when Jay-Z took the NFL’s money to produce concerts and halftime shows, coupled with supporting social organizations, after he criticized other Black entertainers for considering performing at this year’s Super Bowl.


True heroism is putting one’s livelihood and sometimes one’s life on the line for what they believe in or to speak up for others without a voice.


For years, media members, including myself, have compared James to Ali because we finally had a superstar athlete more concerned with making a major difference than just making major dollars.


Unfortunately, James showed that he is not yet on Ali’s level because he truly is not willing to risk it all for other people.


Furthermore, James has to realize that you cannot bring awareness to African-American issues without being willing to be aware about the issues affecting others on the other side of the globe.


Racism and discrimination exist often because people without a dog in the fight refuse to fight.


With James, Kaepernick and other celebrities speaking out against police brutality and systemic racism, awareness has come to the plight of African-Americans and now White cops are finally getting some jail time for killing unarmed African-Americans for no apparent reason.


But for someone to be so vocal when it pertains to his community, it was sad to see him get punked when it came to issues affecting oppressed Chinese citizens.


Basically what James told Morey was what Laura Ingraham of Fox News told him after he spoke up for the African-American community.


Ingraham told James to “shut and dribble.”


James took offense to Ingraham’s comments and even produced a documentary about social activism and sports.


He basically echoed Ingraham’s ignorant comments with his similar comments about Morey.


The Rockets’ general manager might be a lot of things, but uneducated and uninformed are not adjectives to describe the Northwestern University alum.


Nevertheless, James will rebound like nothing happened because he has done too much good for the African-American community for one loss to totally defeat him.


And as much as he believed Morey needed to educate himself on the issues, James got a little education himself.


Wading into politics is difficult for professional athletes and professional sports leagues.


But when one goes all in for the rights of one demographic, it looks very disingenuous when the same person does not go all in for the rights of another demographic facing oppression.


This article was published on Friday 18 October, 2019.
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