By Ken Reed
Earlier this year, Fox News personality Laura Ingraham infamously told LeBron James and Kevin Durant to “shut up and dribble” for having the audacity to criticize President Trump.
Well, not only is LeBron not shutting up, his production company is creating a three-part documentary series for Showtime highlighting the influence of NBA players on social issues, politics and pop culture.
The docu-series is being produced by James’ and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment company. Gotham Chopra (“Kobe Bryant’s Muse”) will be the director.
“LeBron James is one of many competitors whose place in the spotlight has led not to silence but perspective, and he, Maverick Carter and Gotham Chopra have given us an important, insightful docuseries that should bring their fans and fellow citizens to a higher level of discourse, rather than the dismissal satirized in the title,” said Showtime CEO and president David Nevins.
“We will not shut up and dribble,” said James in response to Ingraham.
“I mean too much to so many kids that feel like they don’t have a way out and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in.”
At the start of James’ pro career, he was hesitant to take a stand on the socio-political issues of the day. It appeared he was following the lead of Michael Jordan, who once said “Republicans buy sneakers too” when asked why he didn’t speak out on issues.
In a 2015 documentary about his life, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had this to say about Jordan’s stance:
“You can’t be afraid of losing shoe sales if you’re worried about your civil and human rights. He took commerce over conscience. It’s unfortunate for him, but he’s gotta live with it.”
Thankfully, in recent years, James has evolved more toward Abdul-Jabbar’s level of social consciousness rather than Jordan’s.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- “Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
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- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.