OPINION: LeBron James is too important to ‘Shut Up and Dribble’

The Fox News anchor who insulted LeBron James must not have been aware of the impact he has made in his time as the NBA’s most high-profile player.


Keith Allison - Wikimedia Commons

LeBron James is the biggest star in the NBA, and has used his public platform to be more politically outspoken than his predecessors. Anyone who criticizes him for speaking — rather than what he is saying — needs to understand how large of a role model he is for a new generation.

Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham made comments about LeBron James that were not only offensive but show that she fails to see how important his role to society is.

Laura Ingraham had the audacity to call one of the most prominent and successful NBA players of this generation “barely intelligible” and “ignorant” on national TV after James criticized President Donald Trump.

Ingraham went on to say that “this is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. And it’s always unwise to seek political advice for someone who gets paid 100 million a year to bounce a ball.”

She ended her ridiculous rant by saying, “Shut up and dribble.”

These comments came across as racist. It is very true that James skipped college to pursue his dream, which consequently paid him exceedingly well. But that’s supposed to mean that what he has to say is “barely intelligible?”

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James has showed his intelligence time and time again, on and off the court.

Not only is he a great player, but he is a businessman, philanthropist and a social activist.

The LeBron James Family foundation is planning on opening a school by 2022 in Akron, Ohio for “students who are at-risk in reading and who are in need of additional academic intervention before falling further behind their peers.”

James is also helping to send kids to college on scholarship. Since he grew up in a disadvantaged neighborhood, he is trying to make sure kids won’t have the same struggles he had financially.

A lot of athletes have the platform to speak their minds about issues throughout the world, and James doesn’t shy away from speaking out.

He has spoken about several issues pertaining to race, including the controversial deaths of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner. He was outspoken when former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was revealed to be a racist in both his attitude and business dealings. He rarely hesitates to give his opinion on politics, like he did with gun control after last week’s school shooting in Florida.

Many high-profile athletes choose not to speak on touchy issues because it can affect their sponsorships; Michael Jordan, James’ only semi-modern peer in terms of stardom in the NBA, is famously rumored to have once said that “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

However, James realizes that his purpose as a role model is bigger than a game.

“I will not shut up and dribble,” said James after the NBA All-Star game on Sunday. “I owe it to my peers, my fans and for everyone that had laid the path to get to this point.”

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We should applaud the efforts of this man to be more than an athlete and who hopefully inspires the next athlete to do more than just “shut up and dribble.”