LeBron James is not planning on taking Laura Ingraham’s advice or remembering her name.
“I will not just shut up and dribble,” James said during Saturday’s All-Star media availability, echoing the phrase Ingraham, a Fox News commentator, used Thursday. “I appreciate her for giving me more awareness. For me to be sitting here on ... the best weekend in the NBA … and I get to talk about social injustice. ... So, thank you, whatever her name is. I get to sit up here and talk about what’s really important.”
Ingraham’s comments, which included saying it’s “unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball,” were prompted by a video of James, Kevin Durant, and ESPN’s Cari Champion for Uninterrupted, James’s media company. In the video, which can be seen in full here, James called Donald Trump someone who “doesn’t understand the people, and really don’t give a fuck about the people.”
“Must they run their mouths like that?” Ingraham said. “You’re great players, but no one voted for you. [...] So keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
“I will definitely not do that,” said James. “I mean too much to society, I mean too much to the youth, I mean too much to so many kids that feel like they don’t have a way out, and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in.”
Adam Silver was asked about athletes addressing social issues in his own press conference later in the day, and the NBA commissioner championed the league’s players for not keeping quiet.
“I’m incredibly proud of our players for using the platform they have,” Silver said. “And I was proud of LeBron and Kevin’s response to the comments that were made about them.”
James noted that among Ingraham’s uninformed comments were actual inaccuracies: She implied that he bypassed his senior year of high school to join the league. “I wish she would have done a little more fact-checking because I finished high school and didn’t leave early,” said James. “I graduated high school.” Come at the King, you best fact-check.