LeBron James discussed the double standard for black, white athletes during the debut episode of his new HBO show The Shop that aired Tuesday night.
Flanked with celebs like Jon Stewart, Odell Beckham Jr. and Vince Staples, the Los Angeles Lakers forward dished about life at his mostly white, exclusive, private school in Akron, Ohio.
“Took me a while to adjust to it … I was like, I’m not f*cking with white people, that was my initial thought to white America.”
As noted by USA Today, James described a hypothetical in which a star white athlete and a star black athlete are approached by a photo-seeking fan while out in public with their families.
“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),” James began. “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 serves as an executive producer of The Shop, described as “unfiltered conversation and debate” set in a barbershop.
During the premiere episode, the three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP also touched on his passion for speaking out about social issues.
“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, according to a transcript of his remarks from ESPN.
“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.”
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