Lebron James

Virtual Haters


cjones09022020

I’ve heard some viewers of the Democratic National Convention say they preferred it without a live crowd. Not me. Speakers need momentum. Playing to a crowd helps with that more than talking to a camera. When it comes to sports, fans don’t just make it more interesting, they’re part of the game.

Fans often distract and taunt players from opposing teams. Football stadiums are designed to maximize the crowd noise. Fans of the Seattle Seahawks calls themselves the “12th Man.” In case you’re not a football fan, there are 11 players on the field for each team at a time. In case you’re a Donald Trump supporter, 12 comes after 11.

Without fans in attendance, sports can be boring. It’s tough to watch baseball with cutouts of fans behind home plate. The NHL has been praised for the way it has handled games during the pandemic. Wrestling has to be even more ridiculous without an audience to play to, but maybe now they can look into CGI. But the NBA seems to have handled it the best.

The NBA has inserted monitors displaying fans in real time watching the games. They may not actually be there, but you can see and hear them. Each team has different criteria for how fans are selected to be on the monitors. Let’s see if drawing a cartoon of the virtual fans is one of them.

The NBA is the most progressive league in major league sports. Nearly 75% of players are black. The players may be the most interactive and in touch with their communities. The majority of the NBA stands with Black Lives Matter.

Donald Trump was upset at NBA players for kneeling and said, “They’ve had horrible ratings, low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. There was a nastiness about the NBA the way (protesting) was done. The NBA is in trouble, bigger trouble than they understand.” As it turns out, his numbers are very low. His speech accepting the Republican nomination was lower than Joe Biden’s Democratic acceptance speech. Maybe Donald Trump is in bigger trouble than he understands.

Trump said, “There are some very, very, very nasty, frankly very dumb players.” He has feuded with LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant. Once upon a time, a president was too busy to angry tweet athletes.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic postponed a playoff game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. Jared Kushner, a trust-fund baby who has his position and security clearance in the White House only because his father-in-law is the president (sic), said, “NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.” Jared, you’re fortunate to not be in prison.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “Jared, your father in law spreads hatred and division daily. Spare us your confused lecture and try to teach the president to not be racist.”

Jared also said he’d like to talk to Lebron James and, “I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive.” I guess Jared isn’t familiar with James’ I Promise School in Akron or his More Than A Vote foundation, which he formed with fellow athletes to work on fighting voter suppression. Jared works in a White House that creates voter suppression.

We’re not going to get solutions to racism from racists. Jared, you don’t need to talk. You need to shut up and listen.

Hey, maybe you can shut up and dribble.

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New Book: Tales From the Trumpster Fire

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LeBron Meets LeCon


cjones08092018

If you donate to LeBron James’ charity, The LeBron James Family Foundation, you will help educate a child and provide university scholarships. If you donate to the Trump Foundation, you will help Donald Trump purchase a portrait of himself, or maybe some sports memorabilia, or perhaps pay off fines for his businesses and pay off politicians.

James just donated $50 million to build a school for at-risk students. While being interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon, he mentioned how Trump was using sports to divide instead of unite. Trump’s reaction was to question the intelligence of James and Lemon. In case you never watch CNN or follow sports, both men are black. Donald Trump has a tendency to question the intelligence of black people.

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un are very nice guys, but Colin Kaepernick is a “son of a bitch.” Trump’s rhetoric toward the quarterback has helped keep him out of his sport as he’s been blackballed by the entire National Football League.

Trump has also attacked NBA star, Stephen Curry. He has questioned the intelligence of Representative Maxine Waters and questioned if Obama was smart enough to get into Columbia University and Harvard Law.

Questioning the intelligence of black people is straight out of the white supremacists’ playbook. Trump, who refused to denounce David Duke’s endorsement until pressured, praised Nazis, and called nations with brown people “shit-hole countries,” knows the playbook well. Now, he’s rewriting it.

While insulting James, Trump threw out praise to Michael Jordan with an “I like Mike.” That puts Jordan in very exclusive company as the only other black people Trump likes are Don King, Kanye, and that “blacks for Trump” guy he flies in to stand behind him at every rally. Jordan, who has never been very vocal about politics, issued a statement supporting James’ charitable endeavors.

A smarter person, especially one campaigning in Ohio, would keep quiet about LeBron James, especially if that person’s own history with charity and education was horrid.

While James is a role model and sending kids to school, Trump University was not a university. The faux university was ordered to drop “University” from its name and New York’s Attorney General accused Trump of misleading more than 5,000 people to pay up to $35,000. After winning the presidency and before taking office, Trump settled three lawsuits over the university for $25 million.

The Trump Foundation was a charity that Trump stopped donating to after 2008. Instead, he solicited money from other people and would then use that money in non-charitable fashions. Like, buying himself expensive gifts, paying off business fines, and donating to political campaigns. Trump is so cheap; he even used it to pay the $7.00 Boy Scout Dues for one of his kids. The charity was also used in coordination with his presidential campaign. New York is suing the foundation along with Trump, and his three eldest children, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka. Referrals have also been made to the Federal Election Commission and the IRS.

Bad things happen to bad people. Donald Trump is a bad person. He’s a man who steals from charity and attacks others who give. And, if he can go about doing that while scoring whitey points with white supremacists, then all the better.

I like Mike. I also like LeBron. In fact, whether I root for them or not on the court (or field), I like anyone who helps at-risk children.

I do not like greedy, bloviating, Cheeto-encrusted racist bastards who con an entire nation.

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Dribbling Discourse


cjones07052018

LeBron watch is over and King James is headed for Los Angeles. Of course, he’s not going to the Clippers.

LeBron James is a divisive figure, even though he’s never done anything bad other than win games, fail to win other games, and exercise his options in free agency. We could point at his politics, but hatred for him started before he even joined the NBA when he was a high school player and we didn’t know if he even had any political opinions. The guy even married his high school sweetheart and together they have three kids. What a horrible person.

James was popular in high school. So much so, that many of his high school games were moved to a college arena in his hometown of Akron, Ohio so it could seat more fans. ESPN2 broadcast one of his high school games, and Time Warner offered many of those games on pay-per-view. He was one of the most hyped high school prospects of all time. He was the first overall pick by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 draft.

He was faulted for not winning a championship with Cleveland and in 2013; he chose to leave for the Miami Heat. ESPN aired a special for his announcement. Cleveland fans burned his jerseys. The owner of the Cavs published an open letter criticizing James for leaving. Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson both criticized him for not staying in Cleveland to win a championship as “The Guy,” as he’d be playing with two other superstars, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. “Taking my talents to South Beach” became a mocking phrase. James won two NBA championships with the Heat.

In 2014, all was forgiven in Cleveland as James rejoined the Cavaliers. The rest of the nation, not so much. His critics fumed when he succeeded and celebrated when he failed. He finally brought the NBA title to Cleveland, which was the first professional championship for that city in 52 years. Despite all the hype, James did not become the highest paid player in the league until 2016.

Now, it seems Magic Johnson has forgiven him as he helped sign him to the Lakers, the second most valuable team in the NBA. His contract is reportedly for $154 million, paid over a span of four years.

Over the past few years, James has taken an interest in causes and politics. He’s a huge contributor to charity, even using The Decision, the show that announced his selection of Miami, to raise $2.5 million for the Boys & Girls Club.
He’s taken on such issues as the war in Darfur, the Trayvon Martin Case, Donald Sterling’s racist comments, the Michael Brown verdict, and the death of Eric Garner. He’s donated and raised money for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.

His home was vandalized with racist graffiti, to which conservatives gave a “womp womp” to. He criticized the racist march in Charlottesville. He said, “It’s sad what’s going on in Charlottesville. Is this the direction our country is heading? Make America Great Again huh?” He later called Donald Trump a “bum” for rescinding a White House invitation to Steph Curry. Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham said he should, “shut up and dribble.”

Yesterday, social media blew up over James’ decision to join the Lakers. Though I didn’t read any comments on his race, it seemed those who had the strongest negative opinions were white conservatives. I wonder why.

I don’t watch much basketball and to me, nobody will ever surpass Michael Jordan. But we’re a nation that debates sports and that’s something we should never become angry about. We’re all partisans. Which is what politics has become. We care less about policy and more about team branding. Donald Trump voters don’t even know what they stand for anymore.

I have never hated LeBron because he never gave me a reason. I have rooted for and against him. But I have always rooted against Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the team she plays for.

If I had a diner, I’d much rather serve LeBron James than Sanders. Is LeBron overpaid for dribbling a basketball? Probably. Is Sanders overpaid for dribbling lies? Most definitely.

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