In a postgame session twice as long, as usual, LeBron James talked about Breonna Taylor, Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, Donald Trump, and didn’t tiptoe around any of them. James was clear about his feelings, thoughts, and motivation to resume the NBA season in Orlando.
“When you’re Black, it’s not a movement; it’s a lifestyle.”
LeBron made it clear the team intends to have the same energy n the court, as they did off the court in the past few months protesting for Breonna Taylor and other victims. As James pointed out, Black Lives Matter is considered a movement, but being African-American is “a lifestyle.” It’s not something you chose to join; it is who you are.
When asked about the change and if there’s progress since he wore “I can’t breathe” after Eric Garner was murdered, eight years go, LeBron was not sure if we could call it progress. On the one hand, no-one at that time would think NBA games would be played with Black Lives Matter on the court. Awareness about what minorities go through is higher, but at what cost? James pointed out it’s horrible we had to see a video of people dying to start the conversation that should’ve happened a long time ago.
“In 2016, Barack was our President. We know what’s going on right now. Is that progress? I think we all can say, that’s not progress.”
LeBron didn’t need the bubble to speak about social issues; he’s been doing that for years. As a global superstar, leader, and a billionaire businessman, LeBron is empowered on all fronts to speak his mind. But, he did say one of the best things that can happen in the bubble is other players speaking up. Players who might’ve been reluctant to in the past because they don’t have LeBron’s standing and level of economic independence can now be vocal about issues they care about.
“You don’t have to like black people or care what I talk about, or care if Black Lives Matter’s on the court. But you know what’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong.”
In line with other players, LeBron said the no.1 goal is that the people responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death be brought to justice, and that will be their main message from the bubble. But when asked what’s next for America as a society, he gave an interesting answer.
“People are afraid to have a conversation. One of the best things in life is communication. If you can sit there and talk to someone, eye to eye, and say how you feel. No matter if they like it or not, you can respect them. ... I have to be able to accept your response, no matter if you tell me what I want to hear or not.”
In that same vein - you don’t have to like LeBron the player, but you gotta respect LeBron the man.