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  • I want to start off by asking you.

  • As we all know, season less than three weeks away from now, What responsibility does LeBron James and other players have in terms of keeping up with the fight of social justice during the upcoming season?

  • Well, they've taken onto themselves, and thank you so much for having me.

  • I'm so honored to be here.

  • I think they've taken up themselves the mantle of leadership.

  • We don't have toe advise them.

  • We don't have to counsel them.

  • They already know what's at stake.

  • Uh, no athlete, arguably, since Mohammed Ali at the height of his fame has leveraged his athletic ability in defense of social justice issues.

  • And I think with the congregation of stars that are around the MBA right now, as they begin, uh, to ramp up for this new season of 72 games, there's no question that LeBron James will continue to carry the responsibility along with those other conscientious stars, not only by wearing stuff on the back of their jerseys and representing what's on the front of those jerseys, but representing the broader interests of their communities.

  • And we know athletics from the very beginning of African American participation has always been connected to n tethered with ah sense of social responsibility, whether it was Joe Louis and the ring with his fisticuffs or Jackie Robinson on the on the Diamond.

  • Or, you know Bill Russell on the parquet floor in Boston, these athletes are Wilma Rudolph Or or you know, Alfie A.

  • Gibson and tennis.

  • These women and men have understood that their athletic ability is subordinate to a broader concern about their race in the society and LeBron James and those fellows in the n b.

  • A.

  • And by the way, the W N Ba are doing an extraordinary job.

  • Dr.

  • Michael Eric Dyson always an honor and privilege to have you on the show, My brother.

  • And by the way, it ain't just the New York Times bestseller.

  • You're a seven time New York Times bestseller.

  • Let me make sure I throw that out there.

  • But I ask you this question when you, uh, obviously the George Floyd, obviously the George Floyd killing was an inspiration.

  • But just as an historian, uh, that's what an an activist that you are not just a professor seeing what you saw from the N B.

  • A players.

  • I wanted to know whether or not it caught you by surprise.

  • Or did you anticipate that this was a powder keg ready to burst at any given moment?

  • And this ultimately was inevitable.

  • What?

  • You what?

  • You transpired over the last few months.

  • You know, given how brilliantly frame that I want to say yes to both of those issues.

  • Right?

  • On the one hand, it was certainly a powder keg waiting to happen, because after all, these are men and women who are involved and invested in their communities.

  • And so what happens outside of that arena affects them.

  • Inside the arena, they have emotions.

  • They have heart.

  • They have intelligence.

  • They have empathy.

  • They understand the context of their own suffering.

  • LeBron James had thean words scrawled on his house in Los Angeles even before he became a Laker.

  • So he understood existentially what politically and conceptually was going on.

  • But on the other hand, I think Stephen A, you've raised a very powerful point.

  • We couldn't have anticipated that they would have a work stoppage on that day.

  • We couldn't have anticipated that at that very moment it was going to explode in such a way that they made a statement about the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and they would no longer stand for that.

  • Not even sports, which relieves the suffering and burden of people.

  • We turned the sports because our lives are either great or not so great.

  • We wanna be distracted, We wanna be uplifted.

  • We wanna be edified and we will look at those players on the the arena floor.

  • We are for a moment for 2.5 hours, taken away and distracted from whatever we got going on.

  • But they said in this moment, we know that's our responsibility.

  • But our greater responsibility is to respond to social issues that affect all of our people and to use our platform in an intelligent fashion toe amplify an echo.

  • Those great ideals, Professor, Let me, uh, add to the chorus of voices, um, and say that you elevate and and make better every tv and radio show you're on, and we're thrilled to have you.

  • And I'm thrilled to have you on the show today.

  • Let me ask you this because you're also a little bit of a hot take sports sky.

  • I've had lots of sports conversations with you and we've debated sports way.

  • Tease this segment by saying how LeBron social activism, according to Professor Dyson, doesn't elevate him above.

  • M.

  • J.

  • You know, I talk about boxing a lot and and Sugar Ray Robinson's the greatest pound for pound fighter of all time.

  • But if you say in a larger sense, who's the greatest fighter ever?

  • It's Mohammed Ali, because he was globally more significant as a result of his political and social activism.

  • Does LeBron's activism I mean that he eclipse eclipse his Michael Jordan or Kareem?

  • Even who is also socially active?

  • In a larger sense, Yeah, that's a great question.

  • I mean, you know my my troika of my triumvirate, my trilogy.

  • My three would be Kobe, LeBron and Jordan for different reasons.

  • Jordan.

  • For the unprecedented, unparalleled and perhaps undue click able feet of at the height of gym shoe uh, mania in America that he helped spark at the height of the globalization of the game.

  • He and David Stern taking it global of the ability to use his, uh, magic on the court to really conquer the world can never be duplicated because it came at a particular time, Uh, in a post civil rights generation where this figure, ah, dark skinned black man bore on his shoulders The burden of representing a sport that had 50 years ago been quite complicated when it came to black folks.

  • Uh, Kobe Bryant, the pure skill, the pure talent, the footwork, the majesty on court taking difficult shots, making them over taller opponents than even a Michael Jordan.

  • But then, when you come to LeBron James when he's ah, hybrid of a magic and a Michael and yet producing a Torshin quit is they say a third thing, something we've never seen before.

  • And when you look at the freakish nature of his athleticism, joined two at the height of his fame and his global acclaim, being willing to take a stand in defense of social justice issues and people whose backs are against the wall, he's incomparable and in the class by himself.

  • Thanks for watching ESPN on YouTube for live streaming sports and premium content.

I want to start off by asking you.

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How LeBron has become a leading voice for social justice | First Take

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/02
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