All-Star Weekend was somewhat overtaken by a controversy surrounding LeBron James and Fox News host Laura Ingraham. Instead of celebrating the game, James and others had to take time out of their weekend to explain why they won’t just shut up and dribble.
Here’s how it all went down.
Feb. 15: LeBron James and Kevin Durant took a ride together
James and Kevin Durant were on an Uninterrupted special with Cari Champion where they began talking about President Donald Trump, the country, and other social issues.
“It’s not even a surprise when he says something,” James said during the conversation. “It’s like, laughable. It’s laughable, and it’s scary.”
Later, he talked about the incident when the gate of his Los Angeles home was spray-painted with a racial slur.
“I’m a black man with a bunch of money. And having a crib in Brentwood [Calif.] and having the word n----- spray-painted over my gate — that lets you know that I ain’t too far removed and I still got a lot more work to do,” James said.
“No matter how far, money, or access, or how you become in life as an African-American man, female — they will always try to figure out a way to let you know that you still beneath them.”
Those were pretty heartfelt words from James about both America and the sometimes overt racism he has experienced.
Ingraham responded with “shut up and dribble.”
Ingraham took issue with that and addressed James’ comments on her show on Thursday.
'Shut up and dribble' — Fox News's Laura Ingraham to LeBron and Kevin Durant after their criticism of President Trump pic.twitter.com/0BlokQDIIl— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 16, 2018
“I’m numb to this commentary - like. Must they run their mouths like that? Unfortunately, a lot of kids, and some adults, take these ignorant comments seriously,” Ingraham said. “Look, there might be a cautionary lesson in LeBron for kids: This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball. Oh, and LeBron and Kevin: You’re great players but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
This likely wasn’t the only time James’ commentary has bothered Ingraham — he’s spoken out before about the president and has gone as far as calling him a bum. He also spoke against Trump when the president criticized NFL players taking knees during the national anthem.
Feb. 16: Dwyane Wade fired back at Ingraham
He wasn’t going to let anyone set limits on one of his best friends without chiming in. Wade took to Twitter to voice his opinion.
They use to try and hide it.. now the president has given everyone the courage to live their truths. https://t.co/OwLSMHIG0m— DWade (@DwyaneWade) February 16, 2018
Kevin Durant called what Ingraham had to say ‘racist’
He wasn’t going to ignore what she said, either. In an interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick on Friday, Durant called the comments racist.
Q: Did you watch whole segment?
A: “Yeah, I watched it. But like I said, you tend to focus on the positive. It’s just sad to see people who think that way. It’s weird. It’s not even a place where we should be as humans. …To me, it was racist. What does (skin color) have to do with anything? We all have an opinion, just like she has an opinion that I disagree with. But I’m not going on TV, or tweeting, and calling her…
Q: Well she’s obviously questioning intellect, which is why it obviously struck a nerve with so many people.
A: “Yes. Yes. That’s exactly what it is. ..I just feel bad for her. I feel sorry for her, because she doesn’t understand.”
Feb. 17: James fired back on Media Day
In recent years, James has fired back at his critics that have been begging for him to stop talking and just play basketball, and this instance was no different. On Saturday, he responded to Ingraham’s comments.
I actually laughed first when I saw the reports. Then I watched the videos and saw how it was put off. I had no idea who she is or what she do, she won in that case because now I know who she is. For her to go up there and say what she said... First of all I would have had a little more respect for her if she wrote those words, she probably said it right off the teleprompter, but that’s ok.
We’re back to everything I’ve been talking about over the last few years. It lets me know that everything I’ve been saying has been correct for her to be having that type of reaction. We will definitely NOT shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I mean too much to so many kids who feel like they don’t have a way out and they need somebody to help lead them out of the situation they’re in.
Also, I wish she would have done a little more fact-checking because I actually did finish high school and didn’t leave early. I graduated high school.
To be an African-American kid and grow up in the inner-city with a single parent mother and not being financially stable and to make it where i’ve made it today, I think I’ve defeated the odds. I want every kid to know that, and I want everybody to know that the youth can do it as well. That’s why I will not shut up and dribble. I mean too much to my two boys here, their best friend right here, my daughter that’s at home, my wife, my family, and all these other kids who look up to me for inspiration and trying to find a way out, and find some leeway on how they can become as great as they can be and how those dreams can become a reality.
The best thing she did was help me create more awareness. I appreciate her for giving me even more awareness. For me to be sitting here on the greatest weekend of the NBA All-Star Weekend... this is the best weekend in the NBA where all the countries in the whole entire world come watch the greatest players in the world no matter if they’re a part of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, and I get to sit up here and talk about social injustice, equality, and why a woman on a certain network decided to tell me to shut up and dribble.
So thank you, whatever her name is. I get to talk about what’s really important and how I can help change kids not only in America, but in Brazil and England and Mexico and all over. So thank you.
Well said, LeBron.
Draymond Green chimed in
James, Wade, Durant, and Green are all smart athletes who have lives on and off the court, just like the rest of their NBA brethren and athletes all around the world. Ingraham tried to limit James, and by doing that, she tried to limit the rest of them.
But like James said, they won’t be limited to what they do on the court. He and others are creating change off the court, and that’s what really matters to them.