independent news and opnion

LeBron James’s Politics Stop at Water’s Edge

0 10

Ever since his electric teenage debut in the NBA, LeBron James has been torn. He has wanted to be unimaginably wealthy, but he has also wanted to be a global icon like Muhammad Ali. For 16 years he walked that line remarkably well, being outspoken on issues of racism, police violence, and education while also amassing enormous wealth. He has managed to become that rarest of commodities: the activist-mogul. Yet this tension is a delicate one, ready to crack like an egg at the slightest pressure. Muhammad Ali of course is a global icon for what he sacrificed, not for what he earned. LeBron this morning has yolk all over his face, and washing it off will not be easy.

For those just waking up to the news, LeBron was asked before a Lakers exhibition game for his thoughts about the NBA’s relationship with China and the tweet by Houston GM Daryl Morey in support of Hong Kong protestors that has set that relationship aflame. LeBron had days to come up with a smooth answer. Instead he clumsily thundered into the lane, more JaVale McGee than Donovan Mitchell. He said, “I don’t want to get into a word or sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke, and so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say, and what we do.”

This was, to put it mildly, a disappointing response. LeBron of course has his own major business interests in China, including from a multitude of endorsements to his lifetime deal with Nike and its archipelago of Chinese sweatshops. He also has a movie coming out, the long-awaited Space Jam 2, with major box office potential overseas, given the literally hundreds of millions Chinese basketball fans.

The immediate perception of course was that LeBron was protecting those business interests at the expense of the Hong Kong protestors and Morey’s right to free expression. Condemnation of LeBron has ensued from all corners. Many reposted a tweet he sent in 2018 that read, “Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere- Our Lives Begin To End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter- Martin Luther King Jr.”

The online platform LIHKG, used by Hong Kong’s protestors, has a post, according to the Hollywood Reporter, with the MLK quote and the plea, “MLK fought for civil rights, but LeBron James supports totalitarianism?”

Another simply reads, “LeBron has been bought.”

LeBron attempted to temper the damage with two tweets. “Let me clear up the confusion,” he wrote in one of his posts. “I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I’m not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that…. My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others.”

Source link

You might also like

Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !