LeBron: I’d Dunk on George Bush
King James lets out a political opinion.
by Dave Zirin
It’s rare when athletes respond to a dreary, clichéd question with a stimulating answer. Thank you LeBron James. Maxim magazine wanted to know who basketball’s King would most like to dunk on. The reigning NBA MVP didn’t name the towering Yao Ming or the “Bird Man” Chris Andersen. Instead he said, “If it doesn’t have to be a basketball player, George W. Bush. I would dunk on his ass, break the rim, and shatter the glass.” Damn.
LeBron, the most dynamically violent dunker since Dominique Wilkins, is going out of his way to show that he has a political ax to grind with the man who spearheaded both a war based on lies and the near collapse of our economy. James is clearly choosing to not go the way of his hero Michael Jordan who famously wouldn’t stand up to Sen. Jesse Helms in 1990 because “Republicans buy sneakers too.”
My one issue is his choice. Today George W. Bush is a remarkably feeble figure on the American scene. He is even speaking at dreadful, cringe-worthy October 26th “business seminar” in Ft. Worth, Texas called “Get Motivated!” Other speakers include former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, and “America’s #1 Motivator Zig Ziglar!” But the headliner at this craptastic event will be the 43rd President. Going to George W. Bush for business motivation is like asking Jon and Kate how to raise your kids.
Clearly, LeBron needs to seek a better class of villain for his dunking displays. Unfortunately, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, and the usual braying barnyard of bigots are just too obvious, and frankly their act is getting stale.
Maybe King James should instead start with some of the worst people in the world of sports. After all, there is a reason that Rush Limbaugh felt like he would blend right in to the ownership fraternity. How sweet it would be to see LeBron bring down the hammer on the heads of the following folk:
1-Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. His new 1.15 billion dollar stadium in Arlington comes complete with cage-dancing cheerleaders, the widest flat screen television in the world, and special “party pass” tickets so people can stand outside the stadium and watch the game through osmosis. Jones took $350 million of public money to build Cowboy stadium in a state where almost 1 in 4 children live in poverty. Even worse, Jones believes that just because he knows how fleece the locals, he also possesses the know-how to draft players, hire coaches, and play General Manager. Keep in mind that the last quarterback to win a playoff game for Jerry Jones was Troy Aikman in 1996. Jones needs to get dunked on now.
2-Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder: In the name of all that’s good and holy, we need to petition the federal government to declare eminent domain and take this team out of Daniel Snyder’s hands. We would have one helluva case. There are the off-field reasons a-plenty. This off-season, came the news that Snyder is suing season ticket holders who couldn’t make payments on their season tickets. There is no other franchise that takes this extraordinary step. They are suing people like 73 year old grandmother Pat Hill, a life long Redskins fans, who because of the recession couldn’t keep up with her payments. Hill had been a season ticket holder since 1962 when her daughter danced during the halftime shows. She couldn’t afford attorneys to ward off the team and had to declare bankruptcy. “It really breaks my heart,” Hill said to the Washington Post, through a mess of tears. “I don’t even believe in bankruptcy. We are supposed to pay our bills. I ain’t trying to get out of anything.” Dan Snyder: the scourge of grandmothers everywhere. Then there is the team he has assembled on the field which is 2-4 despite playing winless teams every single week of the season. The only offense they’ve displayed is their team name.
3-Judge Keith Bardwell: This isn’t someone from the world of sports, but the justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana needs to be served some King James medicine. Bardwell is the Jim Crow Judge who made national headlines by refusing to marry an interracial couple “I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.” LeBron: please dunk on this guy’s head and send him back to the confederacy.
4-But maybe the most obvious choice of all is the guy overseeing two wars in 2009; the guy who won’t fight for a health care public option or broader union protections; the guy dragging his feet on LGBT rights; the guy who also happens to play hoops. Watch out Mr. President: here comes the King.
These are my four. If you have your own choices, please let me know. After all, George W. Bush is simply yesterday’s news.
Dave Zirin writes a column in every issue of SLAM and is the author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States (The New Press). Receive his sports column every week by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.