Just to get this out of the way: LeBron James, the former Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and current Los Angeles Lakers star, is the only player who should ever be in the same discussion with Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the greatest NBA player of all time. He is a once-in-a-generation talent, the kind of player whose actual on-court game should be the blueprint for any young aspiring basketball player going forward.
LeBron James is also a once-in-a-generation twit.
But it’s perhaps that last trait, the race-baiting, that is James’s most egregious flaw (which is saying quite a lot.)
The latest example of James and his race-baiting came at the heels of the Lakers 128-109 win over the Portland Trailblazers. At the end of his postgame scrum, James decided to patronizingly chide and lecture reporters on what he felt was racially-charged animus.
“I got one question for you guys before you guys leave. I was thinking when I was on my way over here, I was wondering why I haven’t gotten a question from you guys about the Jerry Jones photo,” James said.
The 65-year-old photo in question was included in a ridiculous Washington Post story about how Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hasn’t had a black head coach before.
The photo, which can be seen in the tweet below, purports that a 14-year-old Jones was present at an anti-integration protest:
David Maraniss and I did a deep dive on Jerry Jones, who was on the steps of his Little Rock high school for an explosive encounter during the school-segregation strife of 1957: https://t.co/JFtF5MkVJC
— sallyjenkinswashpost (@sallyjenkinswa1) November 23, 2022
“But when the Kyrie [Irving] thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask us questions about that,” James added. The Irving story he’s referring to here is the current Brooklyn Nets star, who found himself in hot water after sharing a documentary that many have described as horrifically antisemitic.
“When I watch Kyrie talk and he says, ‘I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things that we’ve been through,’ and that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America. And I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, as someone with power and a platform, when we do something wrong, or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage, it’s on the bottom ticker. It’s asked about every single day,” James said.
First of all, James, of all people, should know that an athlete is infinitely more marketable and noteworthy than a sports team owner. How many people do you see walking around with a James jersey? How many people even know who Dan Gilbert, Micky Arison or Jeannie Buss are?
Second of all, James’s entire premise is upside down. The Jones photo, while dredged up in a relatively recent WaPo story, happened before James was even born. Irving, meanwhile, made those controversial remarks while still being one of the best players in the NBA. Context matters here, no matter how much James wants to twist it. Additionally, James is the perfect person to pepper with Irving questions. After all, the two of them together brought the Cavaliers their only NBA championship ever. In fact, Irving has long been linked as a trade target for the waffling Lakers due to his history with James (the common theory is that James is one of the only people on the planet who can rein in Irving’s more outlandish nonsense — like his belief that the Earth is flat.)
“But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, photo — and I know it was years and years ago and we all make mistakes, I get it — but it seems like it’s just been buried under, like, ‘Oh, it happened. OK, we just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys,” James said.
It was buried under and moved on from because it’s a non-story, LeBron.
Again, and this can’t be stated clearly enough, what Jones was doing as a 14-year-old child is quite literally “old news.” One of the best players in the current NBA being suspended by his own team until he can prove he’s not antisemitic? That’s big news.
It simply can’t, and shouldn’t, be this difficult for James to comprehend why reporters would ask him about Irving, a controversial superstar whom he has been inextricably linked with, and not Jones, a sports team owner in a completely different sport.
James’ comments are just the latest in his increasingly brazen attempts to keep the spotlight on himself. If you need another example of this, you’ll have to go all the way back to… an hour or so before these aforementioned comments:
WARNING: The following video clip contains language that the reader may find offensive
LeBron interrupted Austin Reaves’ postgame interview to hype him up 😂 pic.twitter.com/HylKWRAval
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 1, 2022
James couldn’t even let his virtually unknown role-player teammate Austin Reaves enjoy a rare postgame interview without making himself the center of it.
The fact that LeBron James wanted reporters to ask for his oh-so-important opinion on a non-story might be the least surprising thing James has ever done.
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