CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – There is no one like LeBron James, and Gregg Popovich is thankful for that.
In a week that the African-American community was uplifted by the release of Marvel’s Black Panther film, James also drew criticism from Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham, which the King dismissed unilaterally.
Sunday prior the matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs, Popovich tied the comments to James’ blockbuster .
“How cool is that for kids to see that? To have that superhero,” he said. “LeBron has been like that for a long time, and for someone to be totally numb to that and attack him in such a childish way really speaks volumes about that individual than it does LeBron.”
The pair, often rivals on the court, have long shown a public, mutual respect. Off the floor, they go to bat for each other. Never more than Sunday.
Popovich called Ingraham’s comments ‘an unbelievable show of arrogance,’ citing the ignorance of what James does for the community.
“To not have a feel for who this guy is – I mean think about when he came into the public view,” Popovich said. “How old was he? To this day, he hasn’t missed a step, hasn’t fallen off the ledge. He’s been a brilliant example for millions of kids, especially kids of lesser opportunity who haven’t had the same advantages as others.”
While his disdain for pointed comments at the best player in the world was noted, James’ persistence to continue toward positive change is what Popovich pointed to as an effective counter.
‘They see in this guy someone who has consistently exhibited excellence in the workplace and that gives them a voice, lets them know that you can speak about anything,” he remarked. “There really is a first amendment. They can have opinions. As a coach, as a plumber, as an astrophysicist, as a lowly reporter, they can have any opinions they want.”
The three-time coach of the year did spend some time talking about what James has been able to do in his 15th year in the league, but went on to lead the media in attendance to the topic of LeBron’s advocacy.
“That’s what is amazing about this when you look at this guy, all the millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars he’s given, tens of millions of kids that see him, that are inspired by him.
“He’s very, very special. We should all be very proud that we have somebody like that who is willing to speak about a variety of topics, and you’ve listened to the lot.”