The Buzz: King of Unity

The professional sports seasons in America are in full effect. There are currently five professional sports leagues within their active seasons. Football started a little over a month ago (with Kaepernick still “team-less” 😒), baseball is quickly inching into the World Series, and my personal favorite—basketball—officially started this week!

Now, many folks may have seen the headlines about the Celtics’ small forward Gordon Hayward’s gruesome ankle injury while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night. (If you have not seen it, I don’t advise that you do.) However, I compel you to see the true “foot action” from the night’s game, which came from none other than LeBron James.

With tensions running high in our nation following the aftermath of the natural disasters the lack of government support, the heinous act in Las Vegas, Eminem’s “diss” towards you know who, and the ongoing national anthem kneel/ linking of arms movement backlash –  there’s a debate about whether or not athletes should “stick to sports.” Lebron James has spoken out about issues of race, politics, and equality in the past, but in the game on Tuesday, LeBron was a man of few words. Actually, he was a man of literally one word, and he let his feet do the talking.

One pair of all-black, high-top Nikes with gold stitching spelling “EQUALITY” on the heels had James literally standing firm in his belief. I am personally not a LeBron James fan, but he has definitely gained my respect for being an advocate for equality.

A few weeks ago, he came to the defense of the Golden State Warriors’ point guard, Stephen Curry (who won the 2016-17 championship against the Cavaliers 😊) via Twitter when Curry declined the invitation to visit the White House in February:

James followed up his tweet with this video to elaborate more on his post and stated, “Sports brings us together,” and he’s not going to be quiet nor perpetuate division within the sports platform.

Along with James, it seems that the NBA is taking a stand for inclusivity as a whole. Following Stephen Curry’s White House invitation decline, the entire Warriors organization also declined the trip (from which they were retroactively uninvited). The Warriors PR team did mention how they would spend their time while in the Washington, DC area, and all I can say is that they are on to something:

“In lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we’ll constructively use our trip to the nation’s capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization.”

While, as I’ve said, basketball is my favorite sport, I am also happy to see the league support and actively live out and speak about the values I believe in and stand for. No matter what team he plays for, Lebron James wins in my book. We should all follow his and the NBA’s lead in celebrating diversity, combatting divisiveness, and standing for equality.

About Keley Smith

Keley Smith is Operating Manager at The Winters Group. Keley’s career interests include educational policy, financial literacy, philanthropy, and minority career development.

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