LeBron James just loves signaling to the world that he is the social conscience of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and beyond.
Defenders of LeBron, especially his liberal friends at ESPN, often derided Michael Jordan, who in explaining his abstinence on political commentary, famously stated that “Republicans buy sneakers too.”
But LeBron fashioned himself more of a Muhammad Ali, who was willing to give up his title and sit in a jail cell in pursuit of his beliefs. Hey LeBron, Muhammad Ali you are not!
The Laker star suggested in his newly found activism that sitting back in silence is not an option so long as injustice remains prevalent in our world. When conservative commentator Laura Ingraham suggested that LeBron “just shut up and dribble,” he double downed by producing a cable television show devoted to discussing political issues.
James was quick to inject himself into the Trayvon Martin incident, clearly choosing sides with the young man who engaged in an altercation with wannabe cop George Zimmerman. Lebron convinced his teammates to wear hoodies as a protest to racial profiling.
And when Colin Kaepernick insulted millions of veterans and law enforcement officers by disrespectfully refusing to stand for the Anthem or showing off socks depicting police officers as pigs, LeBron was one of the first to speak out on his behalf.
James echoed the Nike commercial, featuring Kaepernick himself, which ironically proclaimed that we all must speak out against injustice and "believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything." Further irony in that commercial was the lauding of James for becoming “bigger than basketball.”
And here was James, in response to the tweet by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey supporting Hong Kong’s freedom protestors, sheepishly saying that we must be careful about what we tweet because of the pushback that may result.
Said LeBron: “Yes, we do all have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you're not thinking about others and you're only thinking about yourself."
Who’s being uneducated here? The GM wasn’t thinking about himself; he was thinking about the millions of Hong Kong residents who were willing to die to preserve their freedoms. If anyone was thinking only about himself, it was the selfish James, who is worried about the ramifications of the GM’s tweet on his shoe contracts.
In a later attempt at damage control, LeBron dug an even deeper hole by tweeting: “I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet," he wrote. "I'm not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that."
No LeBron, you have been preaching to us from your high horse that it’s up to us, not others, to speak out against injustice. You had no trouble speaking out against the president or in support of Black Lives Matter, but now you are taking the Fifth?
Veteran sports analyst Jason Whitlock (a rare conservative in the field) nailed it. The NBA’s outrage over the Houston Rockets general manager in siding with the Hong Kong protesters was all about the bottom line.
The NBA is rich because of its deals with Nike. Nike is rich because of its low-cost labor that it secures in China. Nike is hostage to the autocrats in the Communist regime. Anything hurting Nike’s bottom line, hurts the NBA’s bottom line, and LeBron’s as well.
LeBron speaking out against the perceived injustices heaped upon Kaepernick and Trayvon Martin afforded him the luxury of appearing woke, with no risk at all. He didn’t lose a dime for doing so. Speaking out against China and supporting human rights for those striving to be free, was just a bridge too far for LeBron — because that would impact his pocketbook.
What a hypocrite! Worst of all was LeBron’s lecturing of the GM that he was uneducated and that he didn’t know all the facts.
But who’s being ignorant here. LeBron might’ve skipped college, but hopefully he didn’t skip every world history class in high school, where at least one lesson would have, or should have, instructed students that China is a repressive, authoritative government that kills people who speak out against its tyrannical ways.
LeBron has to explain why the GM is ignorant for choosing sides with the freedom seekers. If there’s ignorance here, it stems from those like LeBron James who seem to be hiding their eyes to what is perhaps the most in your face injustice that any human on the planet can see. Unless, of course, you don't want to see it, because it might weaken your economic status.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted “The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy’s diverse background. He’s been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published Bias in the Media, an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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