Allenp and Myles talk LeBron and race.
by Allen Powell
Man, why do you hate LeBron so much? You’re going to give yourself an aneurysm you know that right?
Whatever dude. You keep making excuses for the Kang if you like, but you and I know he’s running like a punk from The Decision and that’s the only reason he’s even discussing race. Seriously, he’s getting everything he deserves.
I really disagree. You know what; we should resurrect that series you tried to get started with Ryan where we write open letters to each other on stuff. You know, kind of like what Bill Simmons and Jason Whitlock did but without the douchery. I’ll hit you with something in a minute.
I’ll be waiting.
It’s getting a little ridiculous, don’t you think?
Yes, it sucked how he left Cleveland. It sucks that he’s never admitted that The Decision was a bad move. And it sucks that the first time he ever discusses race in any way, it appears he’s trying to duck his own culpability in a bad decision. The disgust is understandable.
After all, this is the same LeBron who didn’t see “race” in his cringe-inducing cover shoot for Vogue where he resembled a marauding King Kong. Nor did he feel compelled to mention race when he refused to sign former teammate Ira Newble’s petition protesting abuses in Darfur. Both of those cases seemed like clear cut examples of racial issues, yet LeBron remained silent.
But, just because he’s been silent in the past doesn’t mean that when he finally speaks he can be ignored. You know?
Besides, who else saw Soledad’s “race” question as a blatant ploy to get a sound bite for her next poo-butt two-hour special? She asks a loaded question about one of the most complicated topics in the world and doesn’t even bother to follow up on it? Do you think she allows LeBron James to get away with a one-sentence answer if she is really interested in meaningful dialogue? Of course you don’t.
And what’s up with the latest salvo from basketball’s No. 1 buffoon? Everybody else may see the Round Mound of Retard as some sort of sage, but his comments resemble the ramblings of a hypocritical clown with a tenuous grasp on anything resembling intelligence.
Look, LeBron’s answer was completely true and completely asinine. Don’t even mention Maverick Carter, who decided against issuing a mea culpa, and instead took a shot at the media that’s going to write the first draft of history on LeBron’s career. Maybe Maverick should ask Isiah Thomas what fighting with sportswriters does for your legacy. It’s cool that LeBron has embraced the American tradition of nepotism, but his buddies need to know when to fall on the sword to protect the throne.
Still, it’s a bit confusing that LeBron’s comments bothered so many people. He didn’t call every Cleveland fan a racist, nor did he claim that anybody who disagreed with him switching teams was a bigot.
LeBron said that in the United States of America, a country that became and remains a superpower on the backs of minorities across the globe, race is an inescapable part of every situation. Are people really so divorced from the realities of the past and present circumstances that they cannot see the logic in that statement? Is basic psychology so foreign?
Then again, Americans do love their fantasies. More porn anyone?
It seems that many folks who disagree with LeBron haven’t thought about his thought process. The consensus is that he’s an egomaniacal coward, and The Decision is the proof. People have claimed that the classless way LeBron jilted Cleveland is driving their anger, but, honestly, who really, REALLY cares about Cleveland?
We’re talking about Cleveland. Not New York, not Philadelphia, we’re talking about Cleveland… Is LeBron staying in Cleveland going to make Cleveland a better city?
Look, LeBron gave Cleveland fans some of the best basketball of the past decade, and made Dan Gilbert a ton of money. He managed to wring success out of horribly flawed teams despite some suspect offensive coaching.
Doesn’t it seem plausible that LeBron figured the ledger was balanced? He might have expected a few hurt feelings, but it’s unlikely that he thought The Decision aftermath would be so toxic. The Cleveland Plain Dealer actually had to warn fans that racism and attacks on LeBron’s family were out of bounds. That doesn’t happen when people truly “love” you, right?
The line really is thin.
Nah, the biggest problem is that LeBron changed the paradigm, and like another athlete who once favored grandiose titles, he shook up the world. Unlike Michael Jordan, LeBron didn’t wait for his organization to draft a budding superstar, and then reap the benefits. He didn’t pitch a hissy fit and demand a trade like certain Hollywood stars of yesterday and today.
Nope, LeBron signed a shorter contract, gave his organization a timetable to improve and when it didn’t, he left for greener pastures. It was quite possibly the most impressive power play in the NBA since Oscar Robertson sued the League in order to create free agency.
And that might be where the race factor comes into play. The relationship between the NBA’s largely white fan base, the largely white media that cover the league and the black players who play the game is complicated. Certain white fans cheer black stars for their athletic feats, but resent their massive paychecks and perceived lack of gratitude.
The dominant view is that a career in professional sports is a privilege instead of a reward for sacrifice and dedication. Media members claim that athletes don’t appreciate their lives, while those same journalists bitch and moan despite having a job that allows them get paid to watch and write about sports!
People are uncomfortable with players taking more control of the League. They’ve been fed lies about who is to blame for rising ticket prices and athlete defections. Fans have been taught that greedy athletes gut teams, not stingy owners and bumbling general managers. LeBron is the unholy proof.
Miami’s trio of stars has ushered in a new day in America sports, and whenever a black face is attached to change in this country, the backlash is relentless and harsh. Americans fear certain things, and LeBron represents one of those things. It doesn’t matter what color we are, we’ve all received the same training. That’s why it’s about race.
Allen Powell is a New Orleans-based journalist.