Black Priorities: 10 Times LeBron James Banged For Black America
There’s no disputing that LeBron James is a great basketball player – with some dubbing him the “Greatest Of All Time” (GOAT). But LeBron is just as potent off the court when it comes to improving the plight of his people. The three-time NBA champion has no qualms about going hard for Black men, women and children – even if it means ruffling some very high-profile feathers. Here are 10 times LBJ banged for Black people and made no apologies about it.
LeBron Called Out NCAA, Defended Agent Rich Paul After Rule Change, Prompted Reversal
When the NCAA changed its rules in August and required agents to have college degrees to become certified, many players and fans saw it as an attack against high-profile sports agent Rich Paul, 37. Paul is Black and taking the sports world by storm. In addition to LeBron, he represents players like Draymond Green, Anthony Davis and others. Fellow agent Chris Luchey even referred to Paul in a Sports Illustrated cover story as “a major threat to every large corporate agency that exists.” True to form, LeBron spoke up about it, even dubbing it “The Rich Paul Rule.”
“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop! They BIG MAD and Scared. Nothing will stop this movement and culture over here. Sorry! Not sorry,” LeBron tweeted with emojis to emphasize his point.
LeBron continued to tweet his support for Paul, prompting his NBA peers, other celebrities, influencers and fans to join in. After all of the backlash and receiving Paul’s rebuttal letter, the NCAA reversed its decision.
LeBron Supported California’s Fair Pay To Play Act
Despite being a staunch advocate for education, LeBron James decided to forego college and go straight to the NBA. He said he made the decision to get himself and his mother out of poverty.
That’s why he threw his support and influence behind the “Fair Pay To Play Act,” which California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in September.
“That No. 23 jersey would have gotten sold all over the place without my name on the back, but everybody would have known the likeness,” LeBron said, painting the scenario he thought would’ve happened if he’d played college basketball. “My body would have been on the 2004 NCAA basketball video game. And the Schottenstein Center would have been sold out every single night if I was there. Me and my mom, we didn’t have anything. We wouldn’t have been able to benefit at all from it. The university would have been able to capitalize on everything.”
He wanted to stop that from happening to college athletes who make insane amounts of money for their universities but see none of it. Like other sports, many NCAA players are Black and come from low-income backgrounds.
“I understand what those kids are going through. I feel for those kids who’ve been going through it for so long. So, that’s why it was personal to me,” LeBron said.
LeBron Called NFL Owners ‘Slave Masters’ Due to Kneeling Controversy
During an episode of his popular HBO Sports Series, “The Shop,” LeBron took NFL owners to task over the way they handled players’ rights to protest in the wake of Colin Kaepernick and other players’ kneeling against police brutality and racism.
“In the NFL they got a bunch of old, white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality,” James said in the conversation. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f— I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’”
He made the comments while speaking with guests Ice Cube and Todd Gurley. It didn’t take long for them to go viral.
LeBron added, “The players are who make the ship go … Every Sunday, without Todd Gurley and without Odell Beckham Jr., without those players, those guys, there is no football. And it’s the same in the NBA.”
LeBron Defended Steph Curry, Called Donald Trump A ‘Bum’ Who Made Hate ‘Fashionable’
LeBron has made no secret of his disdain for U.S. President Donald Trump. On several occasions, he’s called Trump out for racism and spewing hate. In one instance, he came to the defense of fellow NBA superstar Steph Curry after Trump said he disinvited the Championship Golden State Warriors to the White House.
He also criticized Trump for the violence in Charlottesville, saying he made hate “fashionable” again.
LeBron Opened His I Promise School In Akron, Ohio
Last summer LeBron accomplished another historic feat. He opened his I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. I Promise operates differently than other public schools to help at-risk youth achieve greatness. Home to hundreds of students with plans to grow that number into the thousands, its motto is “Nothing is given. Everything is earned.”
I Promise uses evidence-based and research-influenced models to accomplish this goal. LeBron has called it the “most important” project of his career. In addition to academics, the school provides an array of other offerings and supports. James tweeted his excitement before the school opened and consistently shares the great work being done at I Promise on social media.
LeBron Donated $2.5M For Exhibit Honoring Muhammad Ali at National Museum of African American History and Culture
Game recognizes game and greats recognize greats. The sayings are common, but LeBron consistently proves he matches his talk with action. In 2016, LeBron donated to support an exhibit honoring the life of boxing GOAT Muhammad Ali after his death. Entitled “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change,” the exhibit celebrated Ali’s life and achievements. LeBron said he didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to honor the legend.
“Muhammad Ali is such a cornerstone of me as an athlete because of what he represented, not only in the ring as a champion, but more outside the ring – what he stood for, what he spoke for, his demeanor,” LeBron told USA Today Sports. “I think of him every day. Without his passion and goals and morals, I don’t know if I’d be sitting here today talking to you about it.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 68: Jamarlin Martin
Jamarlin talks about the recent backlash against Lebron James for not speaking up for Joshua Wong and the violent Hong Kong protestors.
LeBron Committed to Donate Millions In College Scholarships To Akron Students
In 2015, James partnered with the University of Akron to provide four-year college scholarships to qualifying students in his I Promise Program. The donation – which will be made through the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) – could reach $100 million since the university’s tuition and fees are currently $11,466 and the number of students could be as high as 2,300. However, an exact estimate can’t be made just yet because the scholarships will be given to I Promise school students who graduate high school in 2021 with a 3.0 GPA or higher and meet other requirements.
“This is very special to me. … It means so much because, as a kid growing up in the inner city and a lot of African-American kids, you don’t really think past high school,” James told ESPN. “You don’t really know your future. You hear high school all the time, and you graduate high school and then you never think past that because either it’s not possible or your family’s not financially stable to even be able to support a kid going to college. … For us to be able to do something like this … it means so much.”
LeBron, Other NBA Players Wore ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts After Eric Garner Murder
In 2014, after Eric Garner was killed by a police officer’s chokehold, LeBron and other NBA players wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm ups to honor Garner’s memory and his infamous last words.
“This is more of a motion to the family more than anything,” LeBron told the New York Daily News. “As a society, we have to do better. We have to be better for one another, no matter what race you are. But it’s more of a ‘shoutout’ to the family more than anything. They’re the ones that should be getting all the energy and effort.”
LeBron Is A Major Donor To The Children’s Defense Fund
Founded in 1973 by Marian Wright Edelman, the Children’s Defense Fund is a child advocacy organization that works to level the playing field for “poor children, children of color and those with disabilities.” LeBron has been a major contributor through LJFF.
LeBron Donated “The Decision” Proceeds To The Boys And Girls Club
In a highly-rated 2010 TV event called “The Decision”, LeBron announced he would take his “talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.” He donated the proceeds from the special to the Boys and Girls Club of America, along with over 1,000 computers to the organization. Many of the kids they serve are Black and other people of color.
Though he often describes himself as “just a kid from Akron,” it’s obvious LeBron James is so much more. If he’d listened to Laura Ingraham and just “shut up and dribble,” the world would be a worse place. His determination to make the world better for his children and Black people everywhere, requires he focus on and off the court.
“I do it because I’m passionate about it,” LeBron told The Undefeated. “The hardest thing in the world for me personally is raising two African-American boys and an African-American daughter in today’s society. It’s hard. … I do this because this is bigger than me personally.”