Published On: Sun, Mar 4th, 2018

The Importance of the “Debate” between Lebron James and Kevin Durant against Laura Ingram in the Context of The Great Political Question

Dear Editor,

Two weeks before the NBA All-Star Game which took place last February a storm without peer broke loose in the basketball world and arguably also in the larger field of international sports and such especially because of the turn it took. The first swing in what became like a heated debate was taken by the duo of LeBron James and Kevin Durant, two of the most famous basketball players of their generation.

In an interview they had a couple of days before the All-Star Game they had expressed very sharp criticism on the actual president of the US, Donald Trump and his style of performing politics.

In her turn Laura Ingraham host of the Fox News, which is the major tv channel/protagonist of the conservatives in the States, reacted with a very personal attack against LeBron an Kevin. She told them, among others, to “shut up and dribble”, particularly because, according to her they do not even have enough education to dare mess with politics.

Kevin answered Laura calling her attack racists as there were various white celebrities in the basketball world who also have criticized Trump without Laura attacking them. And LeBron just said that he did not worry about Laura and that he would continue expressing himself as champion for the many, especially youngsters in need and to promote social justice in America.

Within a couple of days many public figures in the basketball and sports world in general came out supporting LeBron and Kevin for all they and other famous basketball players were doing to improve the lives of especially youngsters in need. Very notable, for example was that the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, publicly declared that he was very proud of his players.

But the one who brought the discussion to a more profound level was Gregg Popovich, the famous coach of the San Antonio Spurs, who defended the criticism of LeBron and Kevin by referring to the First Amendment of the American Constitution, which, as a human right, establishes the liberty of each citizen to express one’s opinion, inclusive on politics, irrespective one’s race, religion, sex or economic position.

By doing that Gregg, arguably for the first time in sports history, publicly touched on The Great Political Question of where the sovereignty, the seat of the maximum political power in a nation, rests. The answer to that: with the people of each nation, which people’s sovereignty, the same as with the human rights, are recognized in the constitutions of almost all the countries in the world, although they, in reality, too often, are not being respected by the governments and politicians the way that should be.

One great importance of the right of expression of opinion by each individual person as a pillar of the people’s sovereignty is that it also includes the capacity of each person’s self-activity to, with one’s personal talents, develop one’s life to the maximum and also contribute to the progress of one’s country.

Laura, of course, in her next program, reacted to the criticism on her in which she brought two conservators of color whose rebuttals disappointedly remained personal (“LeBron’s does not represent the values of the black community”) and calling LeBron’s and Kevin’s ideas Marxists and socialists without further motivation. And while Laura called herself a political pundit she did not touch on the Great Political Question.

Consequently LeBron and Kevin clearly ended winning the debate, although a few points should be taken away from them for the use of certain words they would not have spoken in the presence of their mothers.

It should be applauded that sports persons like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and others, once they have reached a position of great celebrity and material fortune, use that not only to their own personal benefit but also to that of those less fortunate.

Therewith they give very clear example not only to sports persons and others in privileged positions but particularly also to politicians around the world (thus also by us in the Caribbean) to do more to help their citizens use their capacity of self-activity for major progress of themselves and their community.

Elco Rosario