LeBron James, more than an athlete

When we talk about LeBron James, we mostly talk about basketball. But if there’s one thing LeBron passed down to us during his career and will follow him after he retires, it’s his speaking out on the most pressing social issues. More than an athlete, definitely.

All it takes is a campaign, perfectly framed, to stick the term in people’s minds.

How is it? More than What ? But yes, you know he went to France in 2018.

Ah yes, the famous trick.

More than an athlete.

The expression sticks to his skin, like a proud tattoo. It’s like an indelible mark that will only get worse over time.

LeBron is, for all open debate, in the discussion of the greatest basketball players of all time. Which is quite an achievement, considering the hundreds of legends who have crossed the NBA’s floors and tried to write their own history. There are champion titles, individual trophies, longevity, records, points, assists, dunks, jerseys, it’s all there.

LeBron marks the beginning of the 21st century so he can no longer be boxed in the basketball category.

More than an athlete.

After initially devoting a large part of his time to his sports activities, LeBron understood the place he had in his society, the American society of the 2010s. He finally understood that his voice was too loud and his meditations are too good to keep locked up during dinner with friends. What is needed? It took a risk. Destroy his image, of course, but leave a mark forever. One that goes beyond league titles, individual trophies, longevity, records, points, assists, dunks, jerseys, everything.

Should we list all the actions and positions of LeBron James, in the face of systemic racism occurring in the United States?

Impossible because there are many of them. But one thing is certain, if there is one who has his shirt wet among the superstars who will be heard in the 21st century, it is him. After Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he, LeBron, took the torch that some criticized Michael Jordan for not taking.

From 2012, around the Trayvon Martin affair LeBron took his first major positions, followed by the tragedy that befell Eric Garner.

First moves, first bases laid, which will only increase in the new dimension of LeBron in America. Because basketball isn’t often far away, and performance helps cement your speech when you reach the top of the mountain. In 2016, when James won the mythical title against the Warriors leading 3-1 in the final, his coronation was followed by the support of Hillary Clinton in the presidential elections of the same year. Unfortunately for LBJ, Donald Trump will be elected president, but it will be months before LeBron openly attacks Trump on Twitter.

Not afraid to say what he thinks out loud? Yes, not afraid to do what no one else has done before him.

The creation of his school I promise School in 2018 in his native Ohio, to allow young people to benefit from the free education they otherwise wouldn’t deserve. The right-handed backhand against Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, when the latter asked the basketball player to “shut up and dribble” that same year. Black Lives Matter, proudly worn on his chest.

No, LeBron can’t keep quiet and just dribble.

And LeBron can’t more just shut up and dribble, given his aura, his image, what he is.

More than a basketball player, more than an athlete which becomes more than one vote, a true spokesperson for African-Americans of his time. We are now up to him to get his opinion, to know what he will think, what he will decide. Will he support Colin Kaepernick and his knee in 2016? Will he scream at the killing of George Floyd? When the NBA faces a potential strike on the Orlando bubble in 2020, who will be at the forefront while the rest of the players listen? When his house in Los Angeles was vandalized with a giant NO*** painted on the gate at the entrance, how did he react to the public?

Therein lies perhaps LeBron’s greatest legacy of his career. And what, in the great debates against Michael Jordan, is completely different from him from the legend of the Bulls.

When it comes to getting wet and putting himself in a vulnerable position publicly in front of sensitive political and social issues, no one likes to take the microphone like LeBron on the basketball planet of the new millennium. In the tradition of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell, LeBron became more than a scorer, passer, champion or the best basketball player in history.

LeBron became what he promoted in 2018.

More than an athlete.

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