When the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, LeBron James spoke to the media after the game, as he basically always does. The difference between this session and normal times, however, is that James only received two questions about basketball. The rest of the session touched on a much more important topics, from the lack of charges for the police officers that killed Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin — an issue James has spoken passionately about in the past as well — to the runoff senate election in Georgia.
James comments are worth actually watching rather than just reading, to fully take in his quiet intensity and emotion while making them. But his final answer before signing off to leave the arena with his teammates is worth taking special note of, because it doesn’t just apply right now. It’s explanatory of his mindset in general, and why he’s often so eager to talk about topics that extend far beyond the basketball court.
James was asked about the criticism he’ll invariably get for his remarks — something he’s no stranger to — and why he persists anyway, and in response, he spoke for a little over two minutes about why he’s never going to just shut up and dribble like his critics want him to.
“People are going to always direct or deflect or just pull bits and pieces of your dialogue and make it for the better of what they want to hear, or what they believe that you should be doing. I’m past that in my life. I don’t really care what people think, especially if it’s negative.
“When I’m speaking from the heart and speaking from a very knowledgeable point of view, I know what I’m saying is right, and I could care less about the comments or what people say, because at the end of the day, no matter what we are all human. No matter the color of your skin, we all have emotions. We all have the same color blood when it comes out. We all pull our pants up and tie our shoes the same exact way, so when it comes down to that, I understand that and I know that, so me speaking about issues that’s going on not only in my community but all over the world, but especially in America that I live in, this is our home base, there’s not one person that doesn’t want to see the greater good from all of us.
“It’s unfortunate that we have some people out there who’d rather see hate than love, and it’s something we won’t ever be able to change. That’s just the way life is built, unfortunately, but if we can get the majority on the side of love rather than hate, then we can do some special things. So I will continue to use my platform, use my influence to continue to empower people, to continue to enlighten people on things that are going on that I feel are wrong, and today is one of those instances, where we as a community feel like the verdict on that particular officer (in the Jacob Blake shooting) was wrong, and there’s nothing else to say about it.”
Tonight, given everything that just happened in our nation’s capital, James is likely going to be asked about a lot more than basketball again. These comments help explain why he’s not going to stay silent, even if there will be those that will criticize him for whatever he says.