Upon losing in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks, the aforementioned was on full display with regards to the fans, the media and the super-talented African American athlete LeBron James. Although many in the media called him a kid and said he was scrutinized in the same manner of Muhammad Ali, it was James himself who said he desired to be a world Icon like Muhammad Ali.
If this is the case all are dead ass wrong, for LeBron will never follow in the foot steeps of an Ali like many of his present day multi-millionaire athletes regardless of sports. These men lack a historical understanding of collective struggle and are too scared and self-centered to stand for a cause they believe in, thus cannot be compared to the spirit of activism by African Athletes in sports.
The last time such occurred was the 12th March 1996 when Abdul-Rauf (Chris Jackson) as a professional basketball player, was banned from playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) matches because he was not willing to stand up when the national anthem of America, The Star Spangled Banner, was played just before the game started. It was his belief, and history would stand in agreement, that standing up was not a right thing to do, because according to him the United States flag is a symbol of oppression and represented a long history of tyranny.
Before Ali there was Paul Robeson, an All-American athlete who lettered in American football, baseball, basketball, and track and field, Rutgers valedictorian who was a Phi Beta Kappa. He attended Columbia Law School and played professional football in with the Akron Pros and Milwaukee Badgers. He was more than involved, for he presented to the United Nations in New York on December 17, 1951 an anti-lynching petition, "We Charge Genocide."
Then there were the authors of the most powerful and controversial moments in sports, when Tommie Smith and John Carlos succeeded in winning the gold and bronze medals in the 200 meters track during the Mexico City 1968 Olympics. The two men who dared to use the stage of the Olympic games as a platform for protest. They wore beads to symbolize the lynching of black men inn America and took the podium barefoot to protest poverty among African peoples worldwide. Last but not least, they held their black-gloved fists in the air in salute of "Black Power.” This was an outrage to Most of white America, for which the powers that were, the IOC forced the U.S. Olympic Committee to withdraw them from the relays, banish them from the Olympic Village, and expel them from the U.S. Olympic team.
LeBron, how dare you put your name in the same sentence of Ali? You will never be equal to the greatness of the men before your nor ever be a Jackie Robinson. So slow your roll homeboy, you are and will be what your are – a multi-million professional athlete with endorsements with Nike, Gatorade and the like. You have nothing to complain about and are an insult to the names referenced in this article and African Americans who respect history and collective responsibility as well.