*Before you send irate comments (you know who you are, Anonymous idiots) allow me to qualify my statement.
LeBron James recently donated $20,000 to a committee to help elect Barack Obama President this fall. Unlike other superstar athletes in the era of commercialization, LeBron has let it be known that he’s making this donation. Others either didn’t do anything or didn’t want anyone to know, which always made me mad.
We’ll take Jordan, for example, the absolute worst bastard of all-time when it came to saying anything worthwhile. He never made any effort (besides I’m sure some charity giving that was rarely made public) to give off the image that he cared about anything other than basketball. While it’s obviously important to care about what you do, shouldn’t there be some indication that you’re not just a robot (are you reading this Tiger?)? Jordan never expressed a political position, he never spoke out about single parents, poverty or affirmative action. He never did a damn thing.
Now, I don’t care that he didn’t want to be a spokesman for some cause. It all just made him seem so distant. Sure he was great, some say the best, but he didn’t seem like a real person to me. Up until now, I’m assumed the same about LeBron. Like MJ his persona, appearance and ideas have been completely crafted by Nike and other corporate sponsors. This is real though. He wants Obama to be President. He would’ve given the money directly to the campaign except that you are only allowed to donate $2300 per person, so this way his money goes further toward the cause. I happen to want Obama to be the President too, but that’s not why I like this gesture. It shows me that LeBron is mature and willing to take the flak that he’ll inevitably get for choosing a side.
When LeBron wore a Yankees cap to an Indians game last year, people went nuts. They said it was disloyal, weak, etc. But putting that into this context, I kind of like the move (even though I love the Tribe and hate the Yanks). He’s willing to put himself out there, to a certain degree at least, and take the heat. He got killed in Cleveland for that but if the Yankees are really his team as he said, then so what? Same here. He’s not preaching on the corner, he’s not even getting involved in the campaign itself, but he’s doing something he is interested in, and damn the consequences.