Did you hear the story about King James' receipt of a racial slur? Whether you did or not, that is what I want to write about today. Super-stardom is always acknowledged in people who are known by a single moniker. Cher, Bono, Clint, Tiger, Lance (a sullied star), Llewellyn (an infamous Welsh comedian and potato farmer) and LeBron all immediately conjure up images of very popular public figures. LeBron is also known as King James, according to his last name. For the two or three of you who might not be aware, LeBron James is the best active player of basketball in this sports-crazy country. Bron, as his friends call him, plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has won three NBA championships and four NBA Most Valuable Player awards during his career. He also has been selected to thirteen NBA All-Star teams and he holds two Olympic Gold medals. Bron helped his team defeat the Golden State Warriors to win last year's NBA championship and the two teams are scheduled to meet each other again in the NBA finals starting tonight.
Being the mega-star that he is, Bron maintains a home in Los Angeles so he can be near to his work with his production company and its partnership with Warner Brothers. Something terrible happened at his LA home last night that has the world abuzz. Let me tell you all about it.
According to the Associated Press, "LeBron James wanted to be with his family, to hug his wife and three kids back in Ohio. Visibly shaken by an event he couldn't control, Cleveland's star struggled Wednesday to focus on his seventh straight NBA Finals or the Golden State Warriors. For the game's best player, basketball was overshadowed by racism." That ominous introduction to the racist attack suffered by Bron had me worried. Had somebody physically attacked him? Had someone broken some of his bones? Did some racist pig take a pot-shot at him? Had someone broken into his home with a gun or a bomb? Just what horrible thing had happened to Bron to account for such a fear-filled response on his part?
The story went on to say precisely what happened. "On the eve of the Cavaliers and Warriors meeting for the third straight year, police said James' mansion in Los Angeles was vandalized in the morning with a racial slur spray painted on the front gate....According to police, an unidentified person spay painted the N-word on the front gate of James' $20 million home in the Brentwood neighborhood Wednesday morning....neither James nor his family was in their secondary home at the time." That's it? You have got to be kidding! Some drunk teenager gets a can of spray paint and splashes "Nigger" on the front gate of James' home and we all act as if he has been tortured and killed by some deranged racist. What is wrong with this picture?
Bron's reaction to the non-event is absurdly and ridiculously over-hyped. He said, "No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough. We have a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African-Americans until we feel equal in America." What!? Did I miss something here? Bron has hundreds of millions of dollars. If he invests his money well he can easily become a billionaire. Bron has tens of millions of fans. He is adored all around the country and he will likely be canonized in both Cleveland and Akron (that is where he played high school ball) when he retires. He has been slated for super-stardom from the moment he first took the court at his private high school gym. Excepting the usual problems associated with being a human being (sickness, sinfulness, death of loved ones), Bron's life has been anything but "tough."
Bron is also anything but equal to the vast majority of the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika. He is in the top 1% in income, net worth, physical skills and popularity. Despite all of that he claims that he feels like an oppressed slave because some drunken teenager spray-painted the word 'Nigger' on his front gate. Give me a break. This sort of overreaction, by both Bron and the press, truly denigrates the real racism many black folks have experienced in their lives. Indeed, it denigrates the racism experienced by all sorts of people in this country over the years. Ask the Chinese working on the transcontinental railroad about tough conditions. Ask the Japanese citizens imprisoned during WWII about tough conditions. Ask the Irish who emigrated to this immoral country and faced extreme racism while just trying to make a living about tough living conditions. Ask the Welsh who worked in the coal mines of West Virginia and Maryland about tough living conditions. I know, my grandfather and father were two of them. The hardship faced by my forefathers is infinitely more palpable than the allegedly tough living conditions associated with living in a future billionaire's mansion that has a spray-painted bad word on the front gate. From what little I have seen I think Bron is a great guy. I wish him the best. But he needs to get a little perspective on life. His suffering is no suffering at all.