When Fox News analyst Laura Ingraham told LeBron James and Kevin Durant to “shut up and dribble” and recommended that they don’t speak out on social issues, the sports world stopped spinning.
James has been outspoken about society and its flaws throughout his career. He led Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony into the spotlight a few years ago at the ESPY Awards when they brought racism to the forefront, and has Ingraham’s comments aren’t going on stop him from voicing his opinion again.
“We will definitely not shut up and dribble,” James said to reporters as he prepared for the 2018 All-Star Game, “I would definitely not do that.”
As arguably the two best players in the NBA, the power that Durant and James has is hard for us to imagine. They can post something on Twitter and reach millions of people or share their thoughts in an interview and get on ESPN instantly, so why would they just shut up and dribble?
They wouldn’t be using all of their tools if he listened to Ingraham. Sure, they are two players with high status and overflowing bank accounts now, but he was almost the exact opposite of that prior to the nights they were drafted. They know what it’s like to just not have money.
Both Durant and James grew up in homes with single mothers. Durant had a brother. James didn’t have any siblings.
Those two, just like other athletes, did the impossible. They broke out of the poor neighborhoods where crime rates were high and graduation rates were low, so they are familiar with the everyday struggle that attracts a helpless feeling.
Because of those backgrounds, they have been humbled by the opportunity to play in the NBA. The two All-Stars both have their own charitable organizations, where they either donate money to build basketball courts in low-income areas, like Durant did, or they provide the money for hundreds of students to attend college, as the LeBron James Family Foundation did.
Ingraham didn’t live the lives that Durant and James did. She didn’t have to worry about whether college was going to be a possibility and had other ways of growing up, whereas basketball was everything that Durant, James, and their relatives had.
Some might say that “shut up and dribble” was just a reiteration of the book Ingraham wrote in 2003, called, “Shut Up & Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN Are Subverting America” and isn’t that big of a deal, but this is something that must be discussed.