Donald Sterling just won’t shut up. Know that when I say shut up, I mean that the disgusting and careless dumb mess just keeps spewing from his lips unapologetically won’t stop. Sterling gave an interview to Anderson Cooper on Monday night (May 12) and some of the sound bites that I have heard made me glad that I stuck with my decision to not watch that wreck from the start. His hate for Magic Johnson is forever centered and given that he will not hush up, I’ve a feeling that we’ll know the direct reason why he doesn’t like the hall of famer fairly soon. Well, aside from obvious reasons.
As much as I want Sterling to just disappear there is another person who also won’t shut up, Lebron James. Unlike the sickness that consistently spews from Sterling’s mouth that begs for silence; I don’t want James to shut up. I want him to keep talking because he matters. He matters not for the sole purpose that he has such a huge platform and his influence has incredible reach, but more so for the fact of how he is using that platform. For a period of time, LeBron became somewhat of a villain to many sports fans. When James left Cleveland, a sour taste was also left in the mouths of most fans. His business brand took a hit because people began to dislike him personally based on how he decided to make his exit to Miami. Like any other superstar, James’ image is very important to his brand. How he is perceived by his team’s fans is almost of equal values as how he is taken in by the general public. After his departure he had some rebranding to do, and even though most of those flames have been ousted there are still some lingering flickers. Every time he takes a stance on social issues, especially those that could affect him and his family as Black people, it is risky. Risky for the fact that most of America is living in this post-racial fantasy world where racism is a thing of the past. When James and his Miami Heat teammates donned hoodies in support of Trayvon Martin, there was backlash. Most wanted to know why they felt compelled to include themselves. A team full of Black men, most fathers, was seriously being asked why they would have any kind of thoughts or feelings about the injustice. This is in part because we don’t want our celebrities, more specifically Black, to have any thoughts on anything racial. It seems to ruin the delusion of some, that despite their status in America, they are still Black. Though it may not affect James the same way it would someone with less money and status, he is still affected. Money doesn’t buy immunity from racism. James understands this and lets you know that he isn’t afraid to speak what’s on his mind. With that being said, here’s what’s really good.
For someone who people still hate based simply on his decision involving basketball; LeBron’s decisiveness and boldness on social issues matters. In a world where reverse racism claims run amok and claims of new blackness tries to place the entire onus on the Black community; LeBron matters. In a world where your ‘self’ often times comes as sacrifice to your ‘brand’; LeBron matters. In a world where irrefutable proof of one’s contempt for an entire peoples is offered but the word ‘allegedly’ still takes the driver’s seat; LeBron matters. LeBron James matters and he matters more than some would ever dare give him credit for.