Well, it’s now officially safe to say that regardless of how adept he is at the sport of basketball, LeBron James doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get his privilege.
Part of that can be understood, if not excused, when considering that James has lived a life of fame since high school. He has been ensconced in a world that normal people don’t live – one of private jets, mansions, red carpet treatment, and a weekly income larger than most people’s entire retirement nest egg.
Note that I’m not saying he hasn’t done any good things with his money, nor am I suggesting he shouldn’t be allowed to keep what he’s made. I just mean it’s all he’s ever known and it is undoubtedly difficult for him to escape that perpetual bubble of blessing and fortune to fully grasp the plight of the average (or below average) man.
That’s the most benevolent conclusion that can be drawn following LeBron’s disgraceful remarks regarding the NBA’s disquieting relationship with human rights abuser China. A brief refresher: In 1997, Britain relinquished control of Hong Kong to China, after receiving a guarantee that China would respect the autonomy and economic freedom of the people there. Hong Kong has thrived for years, only to now see the authoritarians in Beijing tightening the noose and putting bullets through the heads of those who object.
One NBA General Manager, Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets, offered a fairly benign tweet supporting the oppressed in Hong Kong shortly before several NBA preseason games were slated to take place in China. The Chinese despots groused, the NBA cowered, and for reasons yet unknown, LeBron James decided everyone needed to hear from him. Big mistake.
While Chinese goons are terrorizing hard-working citizens, LeBron wanted to make sure everyone knew who the real victims were: him and his wealthy fellow professional basketball players. Yes, he said that:
I don’t care how good you are at putting a bouncy ball through an orange hoop, this kind of narcissistic obliviousness is humiliating and inexcusable. I’m sure LeBron doesn’t think he needs professional handlers, but this is one healthy pile of cow excrement he just slid into face first.
In a stinging rebuke at USA Today, Dan Wolken said what Americans across the political spectrum were thinking as “King James” drew the spotlight to himself while managing to overlook thousands of innocent, liberty-loving people in Hong Kong risking their lives to stand up for their freedom from oppression:
It must have been a real inconvenience to take that 13-hour chartered flight to China last week and hang around a luxury hotel in Shanghai for five days while promotional appearances got canceled. Surely it was awful to be in the middle of an international firestorm where the stakes were so high: Would preseason NBA games be played or not?
Add to that the scene of oppressed Chinese citizens taping LeBron faces over theirs to avert the totalitarian Chinese facial recognition surveillance, all while chanting, “Thank you, Morey,” and you start to get an idea of just how warped James’ sense of moral justice is on this one. So much so, it might be time he revisited this little jewel of what we can now fairly conclude was nothing but preening and virtue signaling:
It’s a general rule of thumb that when your self-absorption has reached the point of being beyond parody (not that the masters of satire over at the Babylon Bee didn’t have a go), you’ve officially done more to damage your “brand” than those pesky, justice-demanding dissidents you brazenly ignore to sell more shoes, ever could.
Remember, this whole James debacle started with the star arrogantly lecturing GM Morey that, “he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand.” Oh, I think he’s wrong. Morey was educated on the situation just like James is. The difference is where they stand and who they stand with. And by that standard, Morey is more of a king than James could ever hope to be.