LeBron James has been famous for well over a decade now, since he was in high school. In that time he has lived up to the expectation that he would be one of the greatest players of all time, and he has done so, for the most part, with great dignity and professionalism. He is the foremost symbol of what an American athlete is, and he’s a pretty good representation. Good family, works hard, stays out of trouble, great teammate.
Like Michael Jordan before him, James has been criticized in his career for not using his considerable fame to speak upon matters of social or political importance. It is an unfair criticism that doesn’t take into account the times James has done exactly that.
But then the president called the NFL into the ring, “uninvited” the Golden State Warriors to an event they weren’t planning on attending, and said anybody who didn’t stand for the national anthem was a “son of a b—-” who ought to lose his job.
This called for a response from the preeminent American athlete of our time, and over the course of three expository minutes, James delivered a frank, mature, considerate, and unmitigated criticism of the president.
Maybe you don’t agree with everything Lebron said there. Either way, it is a reasonable perspective on this matter, expressed well by a guy who has had to stand there holding a microphone during about a million controversies by now. This is easy for him.
For better or for worse, this whole episode is at a point where players sympathetic to the protests (or at least their right to exist) could use a spokesman or two, and it’s hard to think of a better candidate than Lebron James.