LeBron James Life Is The “Wrong” In Black America

I been holding onto this thought for a while, but what better time than right now.

I asked on Facebook, “What if I felt like LeBron James life and everything said about him was everything WRONG with The Black Delegation in The United States of America….”

To my surprise I received a request for context, early. Something rarely done in this era. I’m glad it at least started there. It gave me a real reason to unpack a my statement.

LeBron James has been nothing short of great as a basketball player and human being, yet many still highlight his flaws, his have nots and compare him to others that he’s not in competition with. It reminds me so much of the self hating, stigmas and perceptions that plague Black America present day. All of those things that seem to stay with us no matter how much great that is known and done in every generation.

If you feel that there is no way LeBron could be the living example, because he has millions and fans, you can stop here and know that I’ve already proven my point. If you’re still interested and intrigued by my stance, let’s take a walk.

How can LeBron James life be an example of the wrong within Black America? Because even in his greatness and achievements, many will highlight his failure or shortcoming. Much like the self hate, color struck or classism that exist amongst the black delegation, we won’t allow ourselves a clean victory in any aspect. Within ourselves we hand out our own asterisks in abundance, but want progression and equality. That’s a tough task.

Present Day, LeBron opens his “I Promise” school. A charitable act of providing free education to the you of Akron, Ohio. Something that should be celebrated amongst us all if for no other reason because he’s a black man doing it during the Trump administration. What do we see in the midst of this? All the positive praise met with a resounding “Jalen Rose got a School too!” “He’s not the first one to do something like this” and “Ok, but he still not better than Jordan.”

Why during a powerful, positive move that benefits the youth of Akron, Ohio and their academic future, does “what LeBron can’t do” have to be highlighted? Why is it now time to highlight others at the expense of making a person or his supporters feel less than?

How is this different from not wanting to support a black business because you grew up with the owner?

How is this different from the countless hours spent online and in real life downplaying the guy or girl that is working on their dream to become an artist/musician because you feel they’re too old to still be doing it?

How is the above different from when we scream for an end to police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men and we’re then asked “what about black on black crime?” As if same race crimes only exist amongst us.

LeBron James has millions of supports and maybe the love truly does outweigh the hate. However, daily, hourly, minute by minute, there is someone who “looks like him” willing to reinforce to others that “look like them” that they are tired of hearing about his accomplishments and want the love shown of his positive efforts to stop. That or they want someone else to be highlighted for being great instead of him.

Why can’t we show love to more than one person at a time? Why do so many feel a light has to dim for the proper shine? These are the same questions asked within the black delegation.

Finally, LeBron gets ostracized for playing the game of life and basketball his way. Making the moves that he wants to make, looking out for himself and his family first. It’s not the norm. It’s not what the players or analyst of old did. However, none of them have used their money or celebrity to cause change or influence like LeBron has. It doesn’t appear that anyone has talked to LeBron about his moves and actions. They just giving their venomous statements and hot takes with surface level context without the willingness to see his side or understand.

Is that much different from the childish “Coon” and “Uncle Tom” name calling and labeling that gets done when issues in politics come up? How bout when the topic of interracial dating comes up for some? Why are the statements and choices so venomous and generalized, instead of a case by case and specified?

From where I sit, LeBron embodies what happens within Black America every day. A race of beautiful, people with an ungodly amount of talent, trying hard to get up every day to be great, stand strong, cause change, show influence, thrive and get what is earned and owed. Yet, can’t seem to let go of the past, be ok with opposing opinions and no open adjusting to change or a new way. Yeah, we’re down to rock the boat, but we all have to 100% agree on how or remain at a standstill. We love our uniqueness, but over concern when others like us seem “too different” from us. It’s unfortunate that “move as one or not at all” is the generalization as if there was only one way to navigate in life.

I get it. LeBron isn’t your favorite basketball player. Cool. He’s not mine either. LeBron may be the Martin or Malcolm you’ve been asking for. And even though he’s not asking you to follow him, it would help if you also got out of his way. He’s quite possibly the best black male figure we have today. And if that statement made you say “But what about Obama?” then you have again proved my point.

#TBT: An Idea for the Student Athlete [April 2016]

Talking after our podcast last night, I came up with what I think is a valuable solution to the question, Should college athletes get paid? I am a whole hearted advocate of this, especially with all of the multi million dollar institutions that profit off of the literal blood, sweat and tears of thousands of young athletes, some of which will never make the NBA or other pro circuits of their sport of choice. I’m going to focus on basketball for this post, but after my explanation you can see how it can relate to any sport.

I’m going to get a formal proposal together for this once I seek out the correct channels, but here are my thoughts right now.

I believe “Professional Athlete” should be a course of study for the students that either know they have a great shot at going pro or know this is what they are going to do with their life, no matter what happens.

If we are being honest, we all know that, Pro athlete is a full time job and it should be treated as such. Playing college ball should be a paid internship. I believe the students should be able to make a percentage of their jersey sales. These athletics programs bring in millions; Giving these kids 30-50K would not hurt them. Just like the NBA players, they won’t get paid equally and pay should be behavior, performance and academically based.

What classes should Pro athletes take?
English [Business writing]
Accounting and Finance
Economics
Branding
Marketing
Business Management
Ethics
Psychology
Sociology

The rest of their time should be dedicated to practice and the game itself. If you give them enough real experience and put a GPA mandate on these kids, they will know the value of a playing spot on a team and money earned, just like in the NBA.

I think this would appease the universities and the athletes. I think this is the chance to step into a new era of responsibility and accountability. I also believe it would place these young guys and gals in a simulated environment of what to expect come graduation day and or draft day. You may even get some students to stay longer if they are not NBA shoe-ins or those exceptional high school students might at least play 1 or 2 years. The course of study prepares them for the NBA, D-League or Overseas because it’s all life and career based.

All the above could also could be used for college football students. A much more violent game where the long term affects can limit their success when they decide to call it career.