While LeBron James has been in the public spotlight since high school, it intensified and stretched into the political realm one year ago when he drew the ire of Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
She famously suggested he “shut up and dribble” after James’ criticized President Donald Trump. The exchange came just prior to 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. James defiantly refused to keep his voice and presence limited to the basketball court.
That decision has earned him the respect and support of his peers, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, among others. It’s also kept James as a target for pointed criticism.
Despite that, he doesn’t regret refusing to accept Ingraham’s condemnation. “I think everything in life you have to appreciate, no matter if it’s good or bad,” he said when looking back on the time that’s passed.
“It’s been one year since the call out of ‘Shut up and dribble.’ I knew at that moment I was bigger than basketball and had to say something, because it wasn’t just about me. It was about all of us. It’d be like telling you guys to shut up and just write, or just shut and be a doctor, shut up and be a teacher, just shut up and do whatever your occupation is.
“I just think that’s unfair to all of us, because we are so much more than what our occupation or name tag says. For me to be able to have this platform — as I did one year ago — and for me to be able to have that feeling throughout my body when I heard that, it has not only resonated with me but resonated with a lot of people to be able to feel like they can be more. Like I said, I thanked her for that moment, and we all should thank her.
“Like I said, you have to appreciate anything that comes along, no matter if it’s good or bad. It helps you learn, it helps you become better at who you are, it helps you get more understanding of who you are or more understanding of what the situation is at that point in time.”
James used the phrase as the title of a three-part documentary on Showtime, and has continued with efforts to make an impact on the community. Just as he was prior to the controversy beginning.
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