The NBA, and in particular its players, have been extremely outspoken on issues pertaining to the plight of Black people in America. Even before the tragedies of this year that caused a boycott of playoff games, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has had no issues speaking on any issue close to him, regardless of how controversial it may be.
Another tragedy recently occurred, but this one was against police officers as a man in Compton, Calif., shot two sheriffs as they were sitting in their car. The unfortunate incident led to L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva calling out James to double the reward for finding the person responsible.
Because LeBron and so many others have spoken vehemently against police brutality carried out on Black people, some have taken that as they would be fine with violence against cops. But James emphatically shut that talk down.
“I’ve never in my 35 years ever condoned violence. Never have,” he said. “But I also know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. I grew up in an inner city, in a Black community, in what we call the ‘hood,’ the ‘ghetto,’ however you want to picture it.
“And I’ve seen a lot of counts, firsthand, of a lot of Black people being racially profiled because of our color. I’ve seen it, throughout my whole life.”
James also dispelled the idea that all police are bad people, harkening back to personal experiences. “I’m not saying that all cops are bad, because I actually throughout high school and things of that nature, I’m around them all the time and they are not all bad,” he explained.
“But when you see the videos that’s going on and you can see not only my hometown but all over America, you continue to see the acts of violence towards my kind, I can’t do nothing but to speak about it and see the common denominator. But not one time have I ever said let’s act violent towards cops. I just said that what’s going on in our community is not OK, and we fear for that and we fear for our lives.”
LeBron also pointed to another recent incident that, though didn’t result in the death of a black man, was still concerning nonetheless.
“I just saw something, I believe yesterday or the day before, a guy in Wisconsin was renting a house, and the next door neighbor called the police on him,” James detailed. “And the police came in the house without a warrant, without anything, and arrested the guy, a Black man because he was sitting out on the porch. If you can’t tell me that’s not racial profiling, then I don’t know what the hell.”
In the end what James and many others are calling for is accountability. LeBron doesn’t wish harm on anyone, whether civilian or police and just wants all of the pain to end. But when it comes to Sheriff Villanueva, LeBron wouldn’t even give him the time of day.
“But I do not condone violence towards anyone, police, Black people, white people, anyone of color, anyone not of color, because that’s not going to ever make this world or America what we want it to be.
“And I have zero comment on the Sheriff.”
LeBron focused on setting up next generation of NBA Players
James’ words and actions off the court have led many to place him in the rarified air of such athletes as Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown for what he has been willing to say and do regardless of the consequences.
There are very few modern athletes who have done what James has been willing to do and he has done so not only for the betterment of himself and his family, but the future stars of the NBA.
“You’ve got to understand that for me personally, it’s not just about me when it comes to this league,” James recenlty said. “It’s about the other 300-plus guys that I’ve got to look out for as well. The same way that the OGs and vets looked out for guys like myself, D. Wade, Melo, Bosh and so on and so on.
“You understand that because this league will continue to go on well after you, and for me I just want to leave it in a better place as much as I can when I’m done and going to games and seeing the younger guys who now they’re vets.”
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