LeBron James is just letting loose these days. On his new weekly HBO show, ‘The Shop’, James and other notable athletes and entertainers discuss issues of sports and society in the setting of a barbershop.
HBO calls the show an “unfiltered conversation and debate.” And for sure, James, who is the executive producer of the show, is not holding back.
James spoke about the double-standards black athletes face compared to white athletes. He said something as simple as signing, or not signing, an autograph can be perceived entirely different, even when a black athlete does the same exact thing a white athlete does.
“If it’s (Tom) Brady, if it’s (Aaron) Rodgers, if it’s (Peyton) Manning. And we’re doing the same (expletive), the same exact (expletive),” explained James, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. “I’m talking about a phone is out. We’re like, ‘Yo, get that (expletive) phone out of my face. I’m with my family.
“If we’re out with our family and we say that (expletive) and somebody posts it, and if Aaron Rodgers or one of those guys say that (expletive) and they post it, somebody’s going to be like, ‘Hey, you guys should respect Aaron Rodgers.'”
James, who has become a powerful voice on social issues and equality, said he was inspired by the courage of the late Muhammad Ali.
“At the end of the day, when I decided I was going to start speaking up and not giving a (expletive) about the backlash or if it affects me, my whole mindset was it’s not about me,” James said. “My popularity went down. But at the end of the day, my truth to so many different kids and so many different people was broader than me personally.”