LeBron James continues to speak out on police brutality, Jacob Blake
LeBron James refuses to remain silent on the Jacob Blake shooting and other recent high-profile incidents of police brutality, which hardly comes as a surprise given his longstanding advocacy for social justice causes.
The Los Angeles Lakers star opened up about those issues, among others confronting the Black community, as the team prepares for its second-round matchup with the Houston Rockets.
“Why does it always have to get to a point where we see the guns firing and his family is there, the kids are there,” James said, per the Los Angeles Times. “It’s in broad daylight. And who knows, I mean, if that video is not being taken by that person across the street, do we even know [what happened]? There’s talks that the cops didn’t even have any body cams on, that’s a possibility.
“It’s just, it’s just — quite frankly, it’s just [expletive] up in our community. And I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified. Because you don’t know.”
James has long been recognized as perhaps the most outspoken professional athletes, of this or any other era, when it comes to raising awareness about issues related to systemic racism, social injustice and police misconduct. It’s a challenge and responsibility the Lakers star takes as seriously as his NBA career.
Social activism targeting such issues has played a prominent role in the NBA’s restart. The recent incident involving Jacob Blake — an unarmed Black man who was shot seven times in the back by officers in front of his children in Kenosha, Wisc. — unsurprisingly inspired outrage in the NBA bubble. The outcry resulted in three days of postseason games getting postponed last week.
The players’ unified stance that culminated in the boycott protest unsurprisingly attracted the attention of the White House this past week.
That said, James’ longstanding adversarial stance against Donald Trump throughout his presidency likely means the ongoing derision only further inspires him to enact change.
With the Lakers’ pursuit of a championship set to resume with Game 1 against the Rockets on Friday night, James admits it’s difficult to maintain focus with so much going on outside the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, Fla.
“I got half of my brain locked in on the playoffs and the other half locked in on how I can help Black people become greater in America,” James said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”