LeBron plays the race card

Seriously, I've said it before, but seriously, is this guy just trying to make as many people hate him as possible?

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- LeBron James and his manager say they believe race played a factor in how the two-time reigning NBA MVP's decision to join the Miami Heat was covered this summer.

Neither James nor his manager, Maverick Carter, cited specifics when talking to CNN for a story that aired Wednesday night.

In the interview, CNN correspondent Soledad
O'Brien asked about "The Decision," the one-hour special on ESPN in
which James announced that he would play for the Heat, and some of the
negative headlines it generated.

"It's just about control and not doing it the way it's always been done
or not looking the way that it always looks," Carter said.

O'Brien asked if race played a role.

"I think so at times," James said. "It's always, you know, a race factor."

Said Carter: "It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure."

Wow, seriously?

This leaves me speechless, because it's just one more step in the long line of impossibly stupid things LeBron could say to make his situation even worse.  

Seriously, stop and think, right now, what somewhat reasonable thing could LeBron do to become more hated right now? 

I really struggle to think of anything that falls into the somewhat reasonable category.  I mean he'd have to start wearing a NBA championship belt around Cleveland, proclaiming himself God, or kill kittens in the street at this point.

I think nothing does a greater disservice to real examples of racism, then when a guy takes all the crap that he has coming to him, and then tries to deflect it saying that racism is the root cause of his problems.   It allows people to trivialize racism and pretend it doesn't exist.  It makes us forget that real racism is out there, because when one group uses it as a petty excuse to mask their own failings it makes people think other groups are calling wolf even when they aren't.

No, this has nothing to do with racism.  LeBron's just an egocentric jerk.

He went way out of his way to rip out the heart of his hometown fans.  He went out of his way to build up the hopes of two of our nations biggest cities, only to crush them afterward while knowing all along what his plans were.

I've found that in U.S., public figures can basically be forgiven for almost anything, but the one thing Americans seem to hate more than almost anything else is being lied to.   We can get over people taking steroids as soon as they admit they took them.  LeBron's crimes weren't nearly so severe, but he did the one thing that fans never forgive.  He lied to us and continues to lie to us.   Fans don't like BS, they won't tolerate it. 

No one would have held a grudge against LeBron if he didn't decide to screw with us to feed his own ego.  I guess ego doesn't taste as good as he thought.

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  • Good article.. Doug.. All the real racists will come out and point that racism doesn't exist and this is what it is. Also, we end up thinking all athletes are like Curry, Antoine Walker(unable to manage their finances) or divas like LBJ, Iverson. These guys need to get their act together and do good things when they have such a pulpit....
    I thought Wade was the manipulator who was the biggest screwup of the three but LBJ is coming out and saying this. I hope Toronto does well and get the 8th seed and Amir Johnson/Ed Davis beat up Bosh badly.

  • Lebron James is a disgrace

  • And no Maverick Carter, not because he is black.

  • Wow he can behave as the biggest douchebag and then accuses others of racism. Way to take responsibility for your own decisions...

  • Great piece. I'm sure Lebron has faced racism frequently in his life, but going there here is really unfounded. I really think this guy lives such an insulated life that he's utterly tone deaf to common sense. He's always the victim. He literally doesn't get it.

  • Great article. And not just because you stated the obvious of Lebron being a giant bag o' douche. But I really enjoyed your part about racism and how this takes away from the real problems. Kudos on tying in a sports story to something bigger and world wide.

  • Completely Agree.

    "It's just about control and not doing it the way it's always been done or not looking the way that it always looks," Carter said.

    You're right Carter ... best not to do thing in a way that looks positive, or humble, or appreciative, or any other good quality you can think of. It's much better to do it looking like an ass. Well done.

    Yep, keep digging guys ... It really is possible to dig yourself a hole so deep that you can't get out of it. And they just keep shoveling for some reason.

  • Worst career choice of his career....he could of went to NEW YORK an everybody would of loved him an everybody would of enjoyed seeing if he could take the Knicks to the championship. He could of went to Chicago where he could of followed MJ's footsteps and try to be the greatest player ever....no one would of hated him for that. He even could of stayed in Cleveland. But instead, LeBron chose the easy route....by going to play with 2 superstars in Maimi. Which everybody thinks is a disgrace. Win a championship by yourself chump. Not with 2 of the best players in the game.

  • Lebron can't make me hate him...not based on a decision he made as to where he wants to play ball. Anyone outside of Cleveland that hates him based on his decision should evaluate their priorities in life. That said we don't know everything about the situation so I think its best to reserve comment until Lebron expounds on his statements. This is way, way overblown too. There is always a race factor as he said and I believe that to be true. He was asked a question and he answered it. There was no Jesse Jackson like tirade, just an honest answer...nothing more. The decision was a bad decision. That may mean he is an egocentric jerk, that could also mean he took bad advice. I believe the latter to be true. The league is filled with egocentric jerks, that is usually what rich people become. We celebrate some and berate others...I will stay in "wait and see" mode and hear him explain himself before judging...

  • Just look towards the words of the good Doctor, MLK, I believe he said "I have a dream, that all men will be judged not by the color of thier skin, but of the duechbag of their character"

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    LMAO

  • For a man that has dubbed himself The King, do we really expect any more of him? He grew up as a spoiled childhood sports star, of course he won't take responsibility.

  • I think race plays a role in the story of this summer but not necessarily in the backlash he's receiving or the way the media covered it. At least not OVERTLY. To me, this is misdirected blame. But let's keep in mind, not everything is as simple as it seems. As this summer has demonstrated, the media is not and has never been unbiased. In addition to making money, those who control the media also have agendas to push and public opinion can often be shaped by those agendas. For instance, how do you think wars are really started?

    I think they are right to say that race plays a role in this shift in basketball and what's going on with the league right now. Specifically, the way that athletes like Lebron, Wade, Bosh, CP3 and Melo are wrestling (or attempting to wrestle) control of their own destiny from a system that has both used and benefited them at every level since they were in elementary school.

    What we, as adults, are seeing as players stacking the deck may be viewed by children as controlling their own destiny. We grew up with the examples of Magic, Bird, MJ, etc winning championships on teams constructed and controlled by GMs and 'owners'. What children today may grow up seeing are athletes winning championships through teams constructed and to an extent controlled by athletes that look like them. Doing it their own way rather than the way they are told or "the way it's always been done."

    Millions of young black kids across this country see sports and music as they only ways out of poverty. In communities where there aren't very many parents or neighbors who are doctors, lawyers or (legal) businessmen these athletes and entertainers become the only role models they have. The only demonstrated paths to success. They've been sold a dream. As a result, they take part in a system that will use them at every step of the way whether they are successful or not. From being recruited by college coaches while still in grade school to AAU, to high school ball to college and ultimately the NBA they have a lot of help and incentive to make certain decisions and where to play. But when things go wrong, they are the ones who take the fall.

    You look at college football and basketball and the millions that are made by these universities, media companies, advertisers and well as boosters, agents and a host of people that keep the engine running. When you see cases like those of Reggie Bush, O.J. Mayo, even our own Derrick Rose it's the athlete that takes the blame and whose reputations are tarnished. Not the enablers that participate in this system and rarely the universities themselves. Or you can look at the baseball players who come from Latin America and the system that exploits them and uses sports as a way out of poverty. We can thumb our noses at the athletes that get caught with using "Performance Enhancing Drugs", but we say nothing about the system that incentives the demand for bigger, faster and stronger athletes. It's all good until someone gets caught.

    It's easy to rationalize it by saying that athletes of all races are subjected to the same system. But not all athletes travel the same path to the NBA or the NFL or MLB. And certainly, not all athletes that "make it" come from middle- or upper-class homes that expose them to sound values or at least provide a cushion if they don't make it. I would say that the majority of athletes that successfully make it into these leagues come from poor and minority communities. And challenging a system in the way that the Heat's Big 3 have done certainly can't be popular with those that benefit from that system. So to say that race doesn't play a role isn't completely honest. The real answer is "it's complicated".

  • Come on man, who is the biggest white sports star out there? This has nothing to do with race. The majority of professional athletes are black.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    For instance, let's consider some of the biggest miscues of black athletes over the last 20 yrs: OJ (accused of double murder), Kobe (accused of rape), Barry Bonds (accused of using PEDs), Vick (convicted of running a dog-fighting ring), Tiger Woods (accused of adultery) and LeBron (accused of poor judgment). Each of these situations demonstrate wholly different levels of poor morality. However, in each of these situations a media circus was created and the popularity of the athlete plummeted which obviously also had economic repercussions.

    Can we name white athletes that have experienced the same phenomenon? Probably not. Does this mean that white athletes exercise better judgment? I doubt it. I'm sure womens rights group across the country are angry as hell against Roethlisberger and the NFL. We haven't spent months covering it. Roger Clemens was indicted on six felony counts involving perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress over PEDs. Does anyone care? DOES ANYONE EVEN KNOW ABOUT THAT?!?! And every summer, for what feels like he's entire career, we wonder if Farve is returning to the NFL. Something tells me Ed Werder won't be on Donovan's front lawn if he can't make up his mind on retirement.

    This laser-like focus the media puts on black athletes and their mistakes certainly aren't doing them any favors when forming public opinion. No one is saying, sweep it under the rug but the attention the media plays is not equal. Funny, but the public's reaction to the aforementioned athletes aren't either.

  • In reply to jamatokwu:

    The difference between white and black star athletes is that for the last 20 years, black stars have become by far the bigger stars. The only guy I can think of who even comes close to the level of Lebron or Vick or Bonds is Peyton or Mark McGwire. Peyton is about as conspicuous as a piece of toast at Denny's off the field. And McGwire has been as crucified as any other big name athlete. But can you imagine McGwire telling a reporter he is being crucified because he is bigger than everybody else? And how much dumber did he look when he tried to say he took steriods to recover from injuries.

    This kind of fall goes with the territory of being the biggest name out there. Guys who aren't smart enough to keep their mouths shut and take the heat keep falling. Look at Pete Rose for another example. This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with the current societal tendency to view the black man as the victim, no matter what. Whether it's Louis Gates, Jr or LBJ, it never seems to be their fault...

  • ASSHAT:

    I'll let Bill Simmons do my talking about LBJ.

    http://twitter.com/sportsguy33/status/25984453974

  • I think the problem is these guys are so talented in what they do for an organization that they start believing that they are bigger than the organization, they own the organization etc.. especially with basketball where one player like LBJ makes such an impact. That said, he is just a talented employee. It is the thinking that somehow Gilbert made money out of him and still criticized him is racist is what some of you are hinting. But, most of us work for a corporation where the corporation pays you x amount of dollars/hr when they are making x+100 $/hr from you. And most of that extra 100 is going to the CEO types. Just because he is in a higher profile profession, to put out racism is just plain wrong as would be a star employee in a corporation. You can tell that the hype has caught up to him and the problem there is ESPN/CNN to listen and broadcast this crap. What does he expect? Say Dan Gilbert was a black owner and BET was ESPN. Would they laud LBJ for his actions?

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    How many CEOs are going to react the way that Dan Gilbert reacted when said employee decides to take his/her talents elsewhere?

  • In reply to jamatokwu:

    I am not saying Dan Gilbert was right in his process. He was a victim of his own "slickness" in pampering LBJ and then getting angry at him because he didn't get what he wants. He is just a greedy guy who is seeing all that extra money he thought he is going to make going to Miami now and is so mad. It would have been the same thing if LBJ was Asian, White or Black...That's all.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    You really think so? Something about the history of this country won't let me believe that.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Let's consider something else regarding this race card issue and how the media's coverage can play a role in the backlash and formulation of public opinion. LeBron's decision will cost the NBA and affiliated partners a lot of money. There is a HUGE impact that most people will not see nor understand.

    Forget, for a second, how much money Lebron may have cost himself in reputation, legacy and money for not winning by himself in Cleveland or New York or Chicago or where ever. By not doing what we as fans have come to expect, how much has he cost the owners of those teams by not landing him? How much has he cost those cities in potential revenue or the governments in potential taxes? How much has he cost ESPN by not being able to cover the battles between superstars. Or Nike by not being in a big market or even a separate market from Dwayne Wade? Or Gatorade, T-Mobile or any other advertiser who would rather spread out their marketing reps rather than have to choose between teammates? By consolidating the talent on one or a handful of teams, these superstars also consolidated the economic potential and shrunk the pie. It's more profitable to have a McDonald's on every other block than on one block. And we wonder why Atlanta overpaid Joe Johnson, New York overpaid Amar'e Stoudemire and Denver is desperately trying to hold onto Carmelo. It's simple economics. What drives the decisions of owners, league execs and those profiting from the business of the NBA aren't the same as what drives we fans.

    A month or so ago, Doug wrote an article in reaction to a D-Wade statement that the new Big 3 was good for the NBA because there would be a sellout every night and everywhere they played. I can't remember Doug's exact words, but to paraphrase "its actually BAD for the NBA because there would have already been a sellout when the Heat came to town". Now there will be fewer sellouts because fewer teams now have superstars. That economic impact will be multiplied for that superstar-less team over the course of the season. Instead of 41 home games as well as a deep playoff run, Cleveland may only sellout that one game the Heat come to town. And this will undoubtedly become a trend. More superstars will team up, not out choice, but out of necessity. There will be fewer "haves" and more "have nots".

    This is what athletes taking destiny in their own hands looks like. I'm sure league execs, the owners, the media and those making big money off the NBA understand this even if the public does not. Even if THAT new reality is not the lead story. I'm sure David Stern in his infinite wisdom understands this, too.

    If we are to believe that the new Big 3 made this decision two years ago in Beijing, as Bill Simmons and others have sold us, then the media has had a two year head start on selling this story. If we are to believe that this pact was made earlier in 2006 when the Big 3 each signed shorter deals, then anyone threatened by the potential shift of the landscape and economic structure would have had even longer to prepare. For those who enjoy the work of author Malcolm Gladwell, The Decision may have actually been a Tipping Point.

  • In reply to jamatokwu:

    Your theory is not completely right. LBJ is a different kind of player and is in a different class than Wade/Bosh. Even if Wade is a superstar in basketball sense, the Heat was not able to sell out their arena. I doubt anybody even went to watch Bosh when he came to say Miami or Indiana before. If Kobe and LBJ had teamed up, then your theory is right. Only Cleveland is going to suffer now. If Boozer had gone to Miami along with LBJ/Wade...they would be still the 3 stars and Toronto would be the same with Bosh..(no playoffs or 1st round flame-out)..

    But that said, this is more like a NBA social revolution.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I see your point, but you're kinda missing the forest for the trees. Lebron was the reason why Clevelanders went to Cavs games and opposing teams sold out when he came to town. Same with Wade in Miami, Kobe in LA, etc, etc. They may be at different levels of superstardom but they are superstars and fans come to see them.

    Conversely, who helps the Clippers, Grizzlies, Bucks, etc sell out their home games? Even if the Heat are an avg team, the Nets are going to sell a few more tickets than normal when Wade comes to town. If Wade went to the Cavs instead of vice versa, that opportunity no longer exists for the Nets. The same holds true for the other 28 teams the Heat visits (except, of course, Cleveland). That, pretty much, is my point.

  • I agree with a lot of your points. But at the same time, by the time ESPN was "protecting" Lebron they had already done more than any other media outlet to fertilize the soil that poor choice was planted. They, like the rest of the media, fed the public's appetite, perhaps even intensifying the hunger pains. When it hit its crescendo (i.e. The Decision), the reaction would have been just as intense.

    For those that are fans (or were fans) of Hip Hop, something similar happened in the Tupac vs Bigge "beef". The intense media coverage of that disagreement or misunderstanding created an environment that left two talented artists dead.

    You can even look at the French and American Revolutions, as well as the American Civil War as examples! There is a reason why the phase "the pen is mightier than the sword" is valid!

  • Mitchell-

    you reference the Q ratings regarding how african american atheletes are looked at without pointing out the fact that Michael Jordan, still the #1 athelete in positive Q ratings scores, is black.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Michael Jordan has never "stepped out of line" either. As a matter of fact, he's done everything in his power to "stay in his place" and has been rewarded handsomely for it. Before Tiger Woods was found to be an adulterer, he was arguably the most popular athlete in the world. Where does he find himself now?

  • In reply to Dmband:

    I

  • I'm with you. How can one dislike Ochocinco more than Favre? Especially after this summer. I seriously have no idea....

  • I think LeBron is actually in the right on this one. Look at the Q scores he's getting before and after the decision ( http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/news/story?id=5596310 ), there's a huge backlash from whites and a much smaller backlash from blacks. I don't really see how you can deny that there is a huge racial element at play here.

  • If Wade/Bosh get hurt or dominated by someone in the playoffs which is possible...then LBJ's value will go up. If you think about Boston in the playoffs,
    Garnett atleast this season probably can dominate Bosh...Orlando's Carter can be as good as Wade if he wants to...

    But personally, it was repulsive to hear him say I am taking my talents to South Beach....I feel he was very angry with the CAVS.

  • As I don't live in America I don't think I can really give an answer to that question, I don't think I'm in any position to really make a judgement on your question. All I'm saying is that the numbers pretty strongly back up LeBron's claim that race is a factor, and Doug is IMO out of line calling him a liar.

  • I think Carter as a part of the team where he is not the focal point could defend/play offense on Wade but as somebody who will carry the team, he is nowhere near Wade..

  • fb_avatar

    Could've sworn I posted this earlier but...
    This potato is hot enough to where I'm going to wait for the entire interview before making a judgement. That's because I think race was a factor in Dan Gilbert's reaction, not necessarily the media's. If he was talking about that, then it's an easy misquote. Besides, I'd hate to say anything untoward about a Soledad interview, you know, cause she's so incredibly smokin' hot and all.

  • Anyone know the Q scores he gets with Chicanos? Just askn'....

  • if anyone *hates* lebron james, they have a much bigger issue than racism. there is absolutely no reason for anyone to hate him. i dont see how people can hate tiger or kobe or rothlisberger, either, to tell you the truth. i can see how cleveland fans would feel abandoned...because thats how i would feel if drose left us.

    the only things "the decision" made me think was:
    1) wow, he has a big ego (or more like put his trust in the wrong people...aka the people who advised him to do that show)
    2) wow, he has big balls to diss cleveland like that
    3) he will never be mentioned in the same sentence as mj ever again

    i encourage you guys to watch his documentary "more than a game." its actually a great movie. in the movie you can see how much he does care about his teammates, how much he cherishes the brotherhood, and how much he is a team player. thats not something someone should be hated for...quite the opposite, actually.

    just dont try to compare him to mj. :)

  • In reply to jumpmanjay:

    People change. That movie was in high school. He was a kid without a lot of money. He is probably a team player even now. In this economy, especially in Ohio when there are people going hungry ...basketball love is a way of escaping reality for a little while. And the way he did this program and screw Cleveland makes them hate him.
    And now, he thinks people didn't like his behavior because of race. Well, when somebody hates him here...it is they hate his success in the game and want him to fail there and not something happen to him physically...

  • In reply to jumpmanjay:

    Just a quick rebuttal. Doug, Lebron never said racism was the root cause of his problems. He merely said it was a factor. Get your facts straight.

    I'll preface my next commentary by saying Lebron was 100% wrong in doing that hour-long ESPN Decision special. However, Lebron did not intentionally build the hopes of fans in Chicago and New York. The fact that these are two of our nations biggest cities, what does that have to do with anything? If he chose Chicago, would you say he intentionally built the hopes of fans in Miami? It's just sour grapes on your part that he didn't choose Chicago.

  • I think it is disingenuous to even bring up anything related to race because of the implications of the statement.

  • I think the difference is that Favre originally wanted to come back to the Packers, but they traded him away.

  • And if your point is that the white community doesn't hold white stars accountable for boorish behavior, then shouldn't the point of this whole thing be that the black community doesn't hold black stars accountable either? Either way, we are still missing point, and that point is that somebody has to hold athletes accountable when they act like jerks and still expect us to worship them (and buy their shit...)

  • I meant to post my comment below here....

  • I thought the tone of some of the reporting was racist. I'm more surprised to hear Lebron admit it. Anyway, Greg Neuhaus has an interesting take with his piece: The Amazing Race Card. http://www.lowpostnews.com/heat/the-amazing-race-card/

  • Basketball is a game. Racism, bigotry and discrimination are not. Therefore, what is the game that uses a "RACE CARD"? Magic? Dominoes? Poker? Golf? The game of "LIFE"? The idea of a "race card" is to suggest that one is dealing from the bottom of the "deck" when discrimination is perceived, real or imaginary. Members of the media, lobbyist along with politicians are playing the RATINGS/ Get ELECTED game and fanning people's emotional flames when they frame an issue citing a "RACE CARD". The result, a confused public and a distraction from the core issues that are at the heart of the "flash point". Racism has little to do with the backlash following Lebron & his team's "decision".

    Ignorance has ALL to do with the "black-eye" Lebron is sporting these days. From both sides. The negativity that has been unleashed on Lebron by the media has more to do with a "dream unfulfilled". Eight years ago, the media prematurely gave Lebron the crown and glory that comes with being a "king". And eight years later; NO TITLE, NO KINGDOM, a new title, SIDEKICK, LeQUITTER, LeBacle.

    Lebron and his team in addition to his fans are at fault for being witless believers-- they bought, ingested, and spewed the hyperbole- HOOK, LINE and SINKER. The ball is clearly in Lebron James' court (of public opinion)-- the only "title" he should be concerned with is "CHAMPION". A title that can't be given to NOR taken away- but can only be EARNED.

    There are many "chiefs" in the NBA; yet, there currently, there is only one "KING" of the NBA. And to wear that title (pun intended), you have a lot of catching up to do. Unfortunately, you can't catch what you can't touch.

    A man made is a MADE MAN. Untouchable.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRisphKOkI

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