LeBron James Should Get a Medal From the President, Not Insulting Tweets
By Manny Otiko
Sometimes African Americans simply can’t win in the game of life in America. Go to school, get a good job and you can still get pulled over and asked why you’re driving an expensive car. Or in the case of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates arrested trying to break into your own house.
President Donald Trump’s childish attack on NBA star LeBron James and Don Lemon is a perfect example of this situation. Last Friday, Trump attacked both men and accused them of being unintelligent. He has also accused Rep. Maxine Waters as being “low IQ.”
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” said Trump in a tweet. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”
Trump’s attack was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats and seemed to be designed as a PR stunt to take the Russian investigation off the front pages. It worked for a few days, but as the Paul Manafort trial continues to reveal juicy details, the Russian investigation is still front and center.
Trump’s attack was wrong for multiple reasons. Firstly, it adds to his long list of race-baiting comments and actions. He’s already called neo-Nazis “good people,” appointed several white supremacists to the White House, and is currently implementing an immigration policy which can only be described as legalized ethnic cleansing. (And doesn’t the leader of the Free World have better things to do than to get into beefs with media and sports figures?)
But what’s really disturbing about the attack on James is it’s undeserved. James should be praised by the president, not mocked. When you look at James’ story it embodies that bootstrapping mythos that Republicans love.
James was born to a teenage single mother in Akron, Ohio. His mother was so poor that the family was forced to move frequently because of their financial instability. But because of his basketball talent and business acumen, James was able to get out of his poor neighborhood and become a multimillionaire.
After achieving national success with the Miami Heat, he returned to his hometown to deliver them a championship. He has also invested heavily in Cleveland and his new school in Akron, which is designed to help parents and children use education to get out of poverty. Akron schools have praised his accomplishments.
“Anyone that’s done what LeBron James has done for the past decade to 15 years for our children to prepare them to flourish in life has to be an intelligent person,” said Mark Williams, Akron Public Schools spokesman in an interview with Reuters. “He’s a bright guy, end of story.”
First Lady Melania Trump also said she disagreed with her husband’s opinion. She said James actions were worthy of praise.
James is the kind of rags-to-riches American success story that most people dream about. However, James is also black and intelligent, two things that Trump seems to hate the most. And as a privileged, wealthy black athlete, James is a convenient tool for Trump, who built his campaign on white resentment.
I guess Trump wants James to follow FOX News commentator Laura Ingraham’s advice and “shut up and dribble.” By the way, James has announced he plans to release a documentary on politically- active athletes which will be titled “Shut Up and Dribble.”