By JUSTIN SOBELMAN
LeBron James won NBA All-Star Weekend, in more ways than one. In the first year of the new All-Star game format, in which the top two vote-getters were selected as team captains, LeBron’s squad toppled Stephen Curry’s bunch in one of the most watchable and competitive midseason showcases of the past 15 years. James earned MVP honors for his efforts.
The biggest story involving James came not from the game, but from a Fox News segment aired on Friday morning before the contest. Host Laura Ingraham shredded James and fellow NBA superstar Kevin Durant for voicing their negative opinions of President Trump in a recent ESPN interview. It’s not the first time James has come out against Trump and he has gone as far to make a speech at a Hillary Clinton rally in Ohio during her 2016 election campaign.
Ingraham’s main position was that James needed to “Shut up and dribble.” She also labeled the two stars’ comments as “barely intelligible” and “ungrammatical,” which is ridiculous and inaccurate, considering James and Durant are some of the most-well spoken and intelligent athletes in sports.
James handled Ingraham in the same way he handles opponents on the court: by (metaphorically) dunking all over her.
During All-Star media day, James naturally was asked to comment on the segment and he responded as he tends to do with most things: taking the high road, with a little bit of James’ trademark passive aggressiveness thrown in.
James talked at length about how he felt it was his duty to be a role model for young kids in the same position he was once in.
“We will definitely not shut up and dribble…. I mean too much to society, too much to the youth, too much to so many kids who feel like they don’t have a way out,” said James.
He later posted a picture on Instagram with the words “I am more than an athlete.”
It may sound like cockiness, but he’s absolutely right. Many kids look to professional athletes as role models and there may not be a better one than James. The man came from a poverty-stricken, single-parent household in Akron, Ohio. He was a household name before he turned 17, landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a high school junior. He was anointed as one of the greats before he could even drive. How many people would crumble under that kind of pressure?
Instead, James became one of the three greatest ever to play basketball and transformed into a shrewd businessman with holding in a wide variety of industries, from restaurants to multimedia platforms. He donates millions of dollars to social causes, and is a vocal leader of the fight to end racial injustice. If the man wants to give his opinion on politics, his voice certainly has more weight than some ignorant news anchor.
Of course, James is the clear winner in this, with most of the news media throwing hate on Ingraham and this story blowing up to give Lebron’s fight against racial injustice more awareness. Much of the coverage of this story entailed tearing down Ingraham. For example, NFL player Chris Long tweeted many photos of athletes who were guests on Fox News, and none of them were told to stay out of politics. However, James was able to concede this to Ingraham:
“I had no idea who she was until now, so I guess she won in that case,” James said.