Before addressing how LeBron James is a purveyor of cancel culture, I feel compelled to acknowledge his basketball greatness.
Yes, before it got woke, I was a big fan of the NBA. I still watch the playoffs, though that streak will likely end this year.
But back to LeBron, the player. A big part of what has made him special is his incredible athleticism — the absurd combination of speed, agility, power, and size. All of that is matched by a mind that allows him to see and anticipate plays better than anyone else.
Here’s a factoid that illustrates his dominance. Only three players in league history have appeared in more consecutive finals, yet James stands out on that list — and not just because he was his squad’s best player, every time. In his streak of eight straight finals, he led two different teams.
If one play captures the brilliance of LeBron James, an all-time great offensive player, it’s a defensive one: his miraculous, out-of-nowhere rejection of Andre Iguodala’s layup with under two minutes left in game seven of the 2016 finals.
The layup would have, should have, given the Warriors the lead over LeBron’s Cavs. “The block,” as it’s known, kept the score tied, and the rest, as they say, is history, with Cleveland winning the championship.
As everyone knows, the four-time league MVP is also is a man of the left and an outspoken political activist.
Although I happen to believe that liberalism suppresses people — including many minorities and low-income Americans who have no choice but to send their kids to broken, government-run schools because Democrat officials protect the teachers unions’ education monopoly — LeBron’s politics are his prerogative.
That said, let’s clarify something. Besides his wokeness, James gets a lot of social credits for helping to fund the “I Promise School,” which opened in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, a few years ago.
Rather than being a disruptor, “I Promise” is another government-run failure. Talk about a bad stat sheet. A paltry 28 percent of students are math proficient. Reading proficiency is more pathetic: 13 percent.
But the bigger problem with Lebron is his participation in cancel culture. Itself a mutation of the virus known as progressivism, cancel culture aims to shame, silence, and ruin the lives and livelihoods of anyone who blasphemes left-wing sensibilities.
LeBron recently engaged in canceling Glenn Consor, a radio announcer for the Washington Wizards, who made an honest mistake about something which has nothing to do with politics.
During last Wednesday’s contest, Kevin Porter Jr. of the visiting Houston Rockets won the game on a three-point buzzer-beater.
Consor, who has an irreverent style, described it thusly: “What a well-designed play. And, uh, you’ve gotta give credit. Kevin Porter Jr., like his Dad, pulled that trigger right at the right time. Boy, that one stung.”
Whereas the shot went swoosh, the call was a clunker. Porter’s father, it turns out, served time for manslaughter in the shooting death of a teenage girl and years later was himself shot to death.
After the story got out, LeBron condemned Consor. “Beat it man! I pray for you but there’s no place in our beautiful game for you!” he said Thursday morning.
In a heartfelt apology, Consor explained that he thought that Kevin Porter Jr. was the son of former Washington standout Kevin Porter.
Consor, a cancer survivor active in charitable causes who played professional basketball in Israel years ago, also reached out to Kevin Porter Jr. to apologize.
Following a Lakers practice on Thursday, James was asked about Consor’s explanation that he had made a mistake. “What was his mistake?” asked an incredulous LeBron, implying that Consor was feigning a misunderstanding.
What a joke. No doubt Consor should have caught his misunderstanding in pregame prep., but even the best commentators (and players) have off nights.
While the Wizards haven’t fired Consor, what happens when it comes time to renew his contract, or if he looks for a new broadcasting gig? If only a few NBA players or reporters who cover the league think he’s a bad guy, he’s got problems.
LeBron is a woke player in a woke league. Recall that after being pressured by radical transgender activists, the NBA pulled the 2016 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, over a state law requiring public school students to use the bathroom and locker facilities corresponding to their birth-certificate designated sex — all while aggressively expanding its footprint in Communist China.
Speaking of China, in 2019, LeBron famously went after Daryl Morey, then the general manager for the Houston Rockets, for expressing solidarity with Hong Kong in its fight for freedom against mainland China, where LeBron and his woke pals at Nike sell a lot of sneakers.
Unlike Glenn Consor, LeBron will never feel real heat for his comments — which are much worse than Consor’s.
It’s not fair. At least for me, it’s the final straw. I’ll miss watching the NBA finals. But isn’t hockey heating up around then?
Ken Sondik, an attorney in Zionsville, Indiana, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org