Response to Jason Whitlock

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Normally, I don’t agree with many of the views shared by FS1’s Jason Whitlock. However, he made a good point on LeBron James via “Speak For Yourself” that I hadn’t thought about until now. Whitlock referred to LeBron James dunking at son Bronny James’ AAU game during their layup line drill calling LeBron’s behavior, “Inappropriate. It points to how much fame has inevitably changed LeBron over the past decade. Fame is a drug more potent than cocaine. LeBron is a fame and social media junkie. He moved to Los Angeles looking for a better high.” LeBron, back in 2008, when his mother was acting out at one of his games told her to, “sit your a** down.” Do I think LeBron has become obsessed with fame? My counter question, what celebrity hasn’t? I can think of very few Hollywood actors/actresses, professional athletes, or musicians who aren’t fame crazed. Look at the rock and roll band KISS and the constant attention they have received. 2000 was their “Farewell Tour” only to continue touring for the
next 18 years and now have embarked on a 3-year long “End of The Road” tour. Whitlock continues, “The worship of man is a mistake that is being popularized in society as we become more secular. Sixty years ago, when America was far less secular when
we, black people, were making real social progress under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and the Civil Rights Movement, there was no full blown police scene of black thought and opinion. Martin and Malcom disagreed passionately and publicly. They criticized each other and their points of views. This is healthy and necessary. Criticism and self-analysis
are at the root of growth. You watch the behavior of other racial groups, you’ll see a lot of internal bickering, disagreement, and criticism. It be his own people attacking our current
president. We (black people) are the only group that believe there is value in blind worship of man of celebrities. We foolishly think criticism of LeBron James is narcissistic behavior is tantamount to betrayal. Humans are prone to worship. The entertainment gods are the wrong choice.” I could not agree more. I know as both a sportswriter/commentator and a fan, I tend to get caught up in that same whirlwind that FS1’s Jason Whitlock referred to in his take on the LeBron situation over the weekend. If you were honest with yourself, you know you’re just as guilty as anyone else. Celebrity status sells. Social media is a great way to connect with people and have some fun, but at what point is it too much? I’ve met former NFL running back
DeAngelo Williams when he showed up randomly at a college basketball game I was attending. I went to a Memphis Grizzlies game and met Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Zach Randolph
around 6 years ago. Was it cool? Sure. In fact, when I met Marc, of all the fans gathered to get an autograph or picture, he and I chatted the most mainly because I tried to treat him as if he was
just another guy. Ironically, I’d return to a game 2 years later and he saw me and said, “what’s up man” and pointed right at me. I think as fans we all have gotten out of perspective. Being a fan is
not a bad thing. We need to ensure we don’t arrive at the point of worshipping a player. As a culture, we’ve gone that direction. Are these players any different than you or me? What’s
different? Other than a huge amount of basketball talent, they put their clothes on the same way you and I do and have the same needs. I think you and I need to reexamine our perspective on
what’s most important.

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