CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It can be argued that LeBron James is the most socially conscious athlete since Muhammad Ali, which is why his opinion is asked any time something socially impactful happens.
Such was the case once again Wednesday night following his 39-point performance to lead the Cavs to a 125-103 win over the Toronto Raptors to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
James was asked to address what took place at Fenway Park Monday night where Boston fans were accused of shouting racial slurs at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones.
“It’s a delicate situation,” James said. “Racism, we know, exists. You try not to put yourself in a position, for me as a father I try to give my kids the blueprint on how life is going to be, but at the end of the day I can only tell them so much and then they have to go out and live it themselves.
“For me, [I] just try to be respectful for one, be respectful to others, and I feel that if you do that consistently the I believe the karma will come back to you.”
James admitted that his playoff social media blackout has limited his knowledge of the details of what took place, however he has heard stories over the years that Jones isn’t the first African-American athlete to receive racists taunts from Boston fans.
“I don’t know who said it or what happened or the whole community in Boston or whatever the case may be, I’ve heard a couple of athletes say that you expect that when you go to Boston,” James said. “For me, I’ve been to Boston, I’ve played in Boston a lot. I just try to have tunnel vision when I play. I can’t recall me ever hearing something that was racism towards me.”
James said that he happened to watch Tuesday night’s Red Sox game and saw Jones receive a standing ovation, but because he typically watches games with no volume, he wasn’t fully aware of why.
“I think it was great that other guys spoke up for him, not even on his own team,” James said. “I think the guys from the Red Sox spoke up for Adam Jones saying, ‘Hey fans we need you guys, this is a situation where we need you guys to have a standing ovation and please do that’ because, it’s not great for sports. It’s not great for society.
“You got guys like Martin Luther King, who all he talked about was trying to unite all of us, no matter the color, no matter the race, no matter the shape or size. Racism is going to be a part of tine forever, I believe, but for us, the people that have opportunities to have a voice and people that have an opportunity to have some play on the youth that’s coming up, we have to lead them the best way we can.”