LeBron James is a basketball player — a really, really good basketball player. Over the course of his 17-year career, James has tallied 34,087 points, 9,353 rebounds and 9,298 assists, something no other player in NBA history has done. He’s arguably the greatest basketball player of all time.
But James is so much more than an athlete, even if some others don’t want him to be. In 2018, James was the subject of a Fox News segment, in which host Laura Ingraham berated the Akron native for criticizing the president using “R-rated” language that she described as “barely intelligible” and “ungrammatical.”
She infamously ended the segment by saying, “Keep the political commentary to yourself, or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
Those incredibly rude and dismissive words, “Shut Up and Dribble,” became the title of a three-part documentary that James and his business parter Maverick Carter executive produce, and much to Ingraham’s chagrin, James hasn’t stopped talking about politics, because the suggestion that we can only talk about our professions is egregious to begin with. In fact, his voice has only grown louder as he makes efforts to promote equality.
On Thursday, James posted an Uninterrupted video inspired by Ingraham’s comments:
The timing of the video isn’t coincidental, either. Not only are there thousands of people across the country protesting against systemic racism and police brutality, but on Thursday, Ingraham appeared on Fox News to defend Drew Brees, who, earlier this week, criticized NFL players that peacefully protested police brutality by kneeling during that national anthem.
Complex Sports noticed a slight difference in the language she used to talk about a white athlete sharing their political thoughts vs. how she described two black athletes doing the same thing, and the contrast wasn’t lost on James, either.
See if you can spot the coded language, and why James might have felt the need to fight back against it:
The double standard is clear, and the reason behind it is just as clear for those that care to see it.
As long as hateful and unapologetic racists like Ingraham feel like they can tell black people like James to stay out of politics, James will continue to use his platform to empower his community — whether they’re athletes or not — to speak out against racial inequality and injustice.
One day James will hang up his sneakers and stop dribbling, but he won’t be silenced just because someone who doesn’t like to hear curse words told him so. Fuck that shit.