Stepping away from basketball, I would like to analyze the off court “issues” that “The King” has gotten himself into, as he is arguably the most scrutinized players in the modern era. As of late the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, LeBron James has been caught up in many controversies. Ranging from quoting a rap song lyric with the words “Jewish money” to claiming that NFL owners have a “slave owner mentality” James has drawn a good amount of attention to himself and not in the best way. In the digital age all celebrities, professional athletes especially, must watch what they say, do, and associate themselves with. For the most part, James has done well with this aspect of his public life not expressing something that would offend anyone. He has been known to post videos of himself vibing out to music in his car, giving his 45.9 million Instagram followers a peek into his lavish lifestyle. Via Instagram story, James was listening to a song on rap artist 21 Savage’s (Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph’s) new album “I AM>I Was” titled “ASMR” when he quoted the words, “Jewish money”. The full bar reads, “We been gettin’ that Jewish money, everything is kosher.” I do understand how Jewish people would not take a liking to the said lyric, as it plays on the stereotype of Jewish people making a lot of money and their “greed”. The stereotype is completely false and I have condemned and will continue to condemn racism or prejudice of any kind. Anyways, both James and Joseph have issued apologies for their respective “mistakes”. The main thing is that LeBron made a mistake, he quoted a lyric that he shouldn’t have as he must have known that it would offend members of the Jewish community. Quite interesting how this is one of the first times James has gotten into a controversy relating to something he said about an ethnic or religious group.
Moving on, James said on his HBO show, “The Shop”, that NFL owners have a “slave” mentality. This is something that I partially agree with. When one looks at what he’s saying, he’s pointing out how most NFL owners run their franchises like slave plantations. The mindset that they employ is “We bring you on this team, you work for me, do anything and everything I ask of you and if you don’t we can find someone to replace you.” Now does this parallel to how slaves were mentally and physically abused, demonized, and murdered? Hell no. But I can definitely see the comparisons and dare I say, similar issues that both slaves and NFL players face. Did slaves get paid millions of dollars to play a game? Did slaves get to live an affluent, celebrity life? No on both accounts, but that does not mean that both these groups cannot share some of the same issues. We should all applaud James for speaking his mind, even though some of what he says is debatable, and realize that the problem with the NFL is the relationship between players and owners. There is no Collective Bargaining Association (CBA) or player’s association like the NBA and it is up to the athletes to come forward and talk about these issues. This can only seem controversial to those who want to keep the players quiet and reap the millions upon millions that they earn from their hard work.
To conclude, James also proclaims that beating the 73-9 Golden State Warriors had solidified himsef as the Greatest of All Time (GOAT). There is also a quote of him saying that the greatest player would never say that he is the greatest. In my opinion, there is no “greatest” player of all time. There are amazing players across the generations and there is no way to call one single player as the pinnacle of basketball from its inception in 1891. Yes one can argue that LeBron James is the greatest player of his generation I will not refute that, if anything I will support that. The “GOAT” debate will be one of those topics that will be discussed till the end of time and it changes every generation. When Michael Jordan came on the scene people who said that he was the “GOAT” were questioned in reference to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and so many other NBA greats. At the end of the day Jame is very confident in who he is as a family man, businessman, professional athlete, and philanthropist and that should be celebrated. But he is human and makes mistakes like any other person, and maybe that is what makes him so great. That though he is known as the King, though he has his hands in practically every commercial industry, though he is an international, other wordly icon, despite all of that; he is “Just A Kid from Akron”.