Jason Whitlock: “LeBron James’ quest to become 'more than an athlete' has diminished his athletic accomplishments and focused attention on his intellectual shortcomings. James’ misguided quest to be seen as ‘social justice activist’, ‘talk show host’, ‘movie producer’, and ‘NBA power broker’ has demeaned the sport that made him famous. That’s why the NBA’s television partners will be forced to manufacture anticipation and drama around James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record… A true telling of James’ legacy will encompass his degradation of basketball and sports. ‘More Than An Athlete’ translates to ‘I’m Not a Dumb Jock.' It’s a slogan steeped in identity insecurity. It insinuates that James is ashamed of his profession. It strips sports of its exalted place in American culture. It undermines the importance of sports and it disparages jocks. It’s not an argument athletes should make, it’s an argument best left to pundits, educators, clergy, parents, politicians, comedians, and other cultural critics. Mohammad Ali did not demand that we see him as ‘more than an athlete', he insisted that we recognize his greatness in the ring. Ali’s organic and authentic actions outside the ring made him more than an athlete. His quest was always to be the greatest ‘boxer’. LeBron James cannot match Ali’s authenticity, and that’s why he will never be as revered as Ali, Michael Jordan, or even Tiger Woods. Competition within their sport was always the thing with the all-time greats. LeBron has driven athletes away from an intense focus on winning and dominance. Many athletes now divert much of their attention to setting up their post-careers. They want to be moguls and competition is their side hustle, and cultivating and managing a brand that takes precedence over athletic feats. LeBron wants to be known as more than an athlete but he’s pointing us to his flaws. As a movie and television producer, LeBron is WELL-below mediocre. As the host of ‘The Shop’ he’s every bit inept as Magic Johnson was hosting as a talk show. As a social justice activist, LeBron is an uninformed race-baiter who gets his talking points straight from Twitter. As a political activist, he’s controlled by the Clintons and Obamas, and compromised by Nike’s ties to China. Watching LeBron pretend to be a public intellectual is the equivalent of seeing me on the cover of ‘Playgirl’ magazine. When I watch LeBron play I can’t shake from my mind all the other aspects of his life that he’s forced me to consume. When I watched Jordan, Magic, Larry, Kareem, and Isiah Thomas, all I thought about was how incredible they were as athletes. I don’t enjoy sports the way I used to because I know way too much about the men who play the games. I know how phony, easily manipulated, and misguided they are. They’ve removed all the mystery by sharing their thoughts on social media. I’m a consumer; when I walk into my favorite restaurant I don’t want my chef to be ‘More Than a Chef.’ LeBron James’ pursuit of Kareem should be a really big deal but it won’t garner near the attention and celebration that it should because LeBron has damaged the popularity of basketball. He’s made us evaluate athletes in a way that exposes their shortcomings. He undermined the magic of sport. He disconnected the game from its most passionate fans— the common man.” (Full Segment Above)
Watch Jason Whitlock of ‘Fearless’ explain why he thinks LeBron James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record will mostly fall on deaf ears, as Whitlock says the ‘uninformed race baiter’ alienated a large portion of NBA fans the last few years with his quest to become ‘more than an athlete.’
Check out the segment above as Whitlock details why he thinks LeBron’s mission to become the next Mohammad Ali has only exposed LeBron’s ‘intellectual shortcomings' and greatly damaged the popularity of NBA basketball in the process.