Is President Trump destroying the unifying power of sports?

Is President Trump destroying the unifying power of sports? 

This is the critical question after LeBron James touted President Trump for using sports to divide the nation in his recent interview with Don Lemon.  Traditionally, sports have been viewed as one of the few arenas where Americans from all walks of life would set aside their differences and bond over the commonality of their favorite teams and players.  Historically, U. S. Presidents have relished the unifying power of sports and its ability to help the country move forward.  During World War II President Roosevelt gave the proverbial “green light” to Major League Baseball Commissioner Judge Landis to “play ball,” reasoning that Americans deserved to have baseball to distract them from the harsh realities of the war. In 2016 President Obama acknowledged sports for its ability to provide Americans with a more progressive view that enables the country to move forward when he stated that “sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country is divided[i].”

Today the country finds itself at yet another critically divisive stage where race has been one of the focal points.  Sports have been an arena where many have attempted to shed light on social injustices.  One of the most telling examples of sports being used to bring a divided nation together is the integration of Major League Baseball, which helped the nation to see the error of segregation and forced the nation to acknowledge the humanity of all people.

Since the death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of a neighborhood watchman and the death of countless others at the hands of police officers, there has been an insurgence of athlete activism where athletes have used their platforms in an effort to make the country acknowledge the humanity of the lives lost at the hands of law enforcement.  NFL players have kneeled during the national anthem in opposition to police brutality before football games, and NBA players have worn t-shirts reading “I can’t breathe” in remembrance of Eric Garner during pre-game warmups.

These demonstrations have led to heated debates regarding whether athletes should use games as a forum to shed light on social justice issues and if such demonstrations are a distraction that takes away from the game.  These debates have left the nation grossly divided and has allowed President Trump to politicize these issues to gain political capital.  The President has done this by insulting NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem, accusing them of being disrespectful to the American flag and calling for them to be fired during a political rally.  Instead of using football to bring Americans together like it once did in Alexandria, Virginia where the newly integrated T.C. Williams High School football team rallied a segregated community together to cheer the team to victory in the 1971 Virginia State Championship game, the President is instead using football and the national anthem protest controversy to further divide the nation.

The President also used basketball to divide the nation when he refused to invite the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Champions to the White House after comments from some of the league’s most prominent athletes stating that they had no interest in visiting the White House.  This sparked a contentious debate on whether it was distasteful for the players to express their opposition to the President’s policies by refusing the honor of visiting the White House.  Instead of seeking to understand why the players felt the way they did and trying to work through any differences to help propel the country forward, President Trump politicized the issue and used it for political gain.

President Trump does not relish the unifying nature of sports and instead seems to thrive on his ability to exploit its divisive issues to support his political agenda.  President Trump does not see sports as a tool to teach the nation about inclusion and acceptance the way Coach Haskins of Texas Western College did when he led an all-black starting five to defeat an all-white University of Kentucky team in the 1966 NCAA Basketball Championship, which forced the nation to acknowledge the athletic ability of all athletes.  President Trump appears to view sports as a tool to perpetuate the division of the nation for his own political capital.  In his apparent views and through his actions President Trump is dismantling the unifying power of sports.


[i] President Barack Obama, Address at 2016 World Series Championship Cubs visit the White House (Jan.17, 2017).

LeBron James – “More Than an Athlete” and an Inspiration to Young Athletes

Shut-up and dribble” were words spoken to LeBron James earlier this year after he made comments criticizing President Trump. “Shut-up and dribble” is a sentiment shared by many sports fans who wish to see athletes remain in their athletic box and not use their platforms to facilitate change. James has refused to “shut-up and dribble” and has used his platform to show young athletes that it is possible to be “more than an athlete” by opening the I Promise School earlier this week. King James, regarded by many as the greatest athlete in the world, was “more than an athlete” when he, in conjunction with Akron Public Schools opened the I Promise School for at-risk youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James opened the school with the vision of helping at-risk children overcome many of the same obstacles he faced at their age.

King James is destroying the “shut-up and dribble” mentality that refuses to acknowledge professional athletes as anything more than an athlete performing a sport for viewer pleasure, while simultaneously creating a paradigm shift in the mindset of young athletes and other at-risk youth. Young athletes, particularly those from at-risk neighborhoods, view their athletic abilities as a mechanism to escape adverse circumstances and rarely think of their abilities as a gateway to something greater than athletics. Young athletes fail to have a greater view because their professional athlete role models have complied with the “shut-up and dribble” mentality and have been reluctant to challenge the status quo in fear that such a challenge could cost them their job.LeBron James 'I Promise' School Info

LeBron James realized that his unique set of skills and abilities set him apart from other athletes and has placed him in a unique position to challenge the “shut-up and dribble” mentality and show young athletes that they too can be “more than an athlete.” Opening the I Promise School is the embodiment of being more than an athlete and is a direct demonstration of the accomplishments that young athletes and the youth in black, brown, and at-risk communities should strive to achieve.

LeBron’s example in opening the I Promise School may change the mindset of young athletes and black and brown youth alike by making them bolder in the pursuit of their education and endeavors outside of athletics. His example has shown young athletes that they do not have to be defined by their athletic abilities and should seek to establish an identity that is untethered to their athletic prowess. Witnessing the opening of the, I Promise School may broaden the minds of young athletes and black and brown youth by making them more independent in their thinking when it comes time choose a college and a major.

The opening of this school has provided young athletes and all at-risk youth with an example of how to give back to their community and establish an ownership interest in their community that can be used to create jobs and other opportunities that were not there before. Perhaps most importantly, LeBron’s opening of the I Promise School in the prime of his basketball career is a direct demonstration that it is possible to be socially conscious and socially active while dominating on the court.

The I Promise School is a game changer in every respect. It is destroying the rhetoric that athletes should simply stick to athletics. The school is offering hope to an at-risk community and is sparking a conversation that others similarly situated to LeBron James should follow suit and engage in similar endeavors in their respective communities. Most importantly, it has made an impression on the minds of young athletes and may inspire them to dream a different dream where they are not only superstar athletes but are also superstars in their communities and in the greater global society.

LeBron James Should Not Regret Naming His Son LeBron Jr

Lebron James was on Uninterrupted and said that he regrets naming his oldest son LeBron James Jr. after him because there are so many pressures and expectations on him. I applaud LeBron for being a great dad who is concerned about the wellbeing of his son, but he is wrong here. Most people refer to his son as “Bronny,” not LeBron James, Jr. LeBron’s first name is not what creates the pressures and expectations on his son; it is his last name. That name carries a lot of weight and opens a lot of doors and opportunities out in the world. I would guarantee his son carries his name with enormous pride, and wouldn’t change it for the world. Think about the expectations of greatness that people will place on Blue Ivy, North West, or Mark Zuckerberg’s kids all because of their parents. Laila Ali, Ken Griffey Jr, Barry Bonds, and Brent Barry all had on them because of their fathers. When a kid has a parent that is highly accomplished, there are many unwarranted expectations placed on their children.

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The flip side of the last name is true as well. If your last name is Capone, Manson, Ridgeway, Madoff, Gotti or Kaczynski people will forms opinions and make judgments about you as well. It doesn’t matter what their family members first names are once people know who their father is.

People often forget the professional athletes and their children are human beings first. Just a couple weeks ago LeBron was at his son’s game, and people start chanting “overrated” to his 14-year old son. That was wrong and just mean-spirited to do to a middle-schooler. LeBron is used to the fans and heckling, but has to be fiercely protective of his kids like any other good parent. In the Uninterrupted clip, he says that the impetus for naming Bronny after him was to be everything his father was not; present and loving. He has accomplished his goal, but Bronny still has to forge his own path. It wouldn’t matter what LeBron named his son; his father would still be LeBron James.

I am George Wrighster, III. I am extremely proud to be the third generation and have my father and grandfather’s name. So, I know LeBron James Jr. is proud of his name as well. All good parents are concerned about their kids and worry about whether they are making all the right moves. LeBron can rest assure that he is doing all the right things for his kids. He is a present, loving, and positive example of a man, father, and husband to his sons. Most importantly, he is leaving a legacy for his kids that they are More Than an Athlete!

What do you think? Am I Wrighster or am I Wrong?


LeBron James To LA: It’s Put Up or Shut Up for the Eastern Conference

LA now has a King. LeBron James is officially a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Summer of LeBron lasted one day. LeBron James is signing a 4-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. This time, there was no “Decision” television broadcast. There was no “coming home” article. A simple release from Klutch Sports Group (LeBron’s management company) announced that King James was taking his talents to Los Angeles.

LeBron James now joins the long list of legendary players to wear the gold and purple jerseys. Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and now LeBron James.

Two of the three dominoes have fallen in the NBA free agency saga. Paul George is staying with the Thunder and LeBron is going to the Lakers. The last domino will involve Kawhi Leonard. Will he sign the supermax in San Antonio or will he be traded to Philly, Boston, or the team that wants to pair Leonard with LeBron, the Lakers?

While we wait on the status Kawhi Leonard, the LeBron James signing not only affects the Lakers but more importantly, it changes the landscape of the entire NBA. LeBron will turn the Lakers into a championship contender. This also means that LeBron makes the West even more stacked as the Lakers will look to compete with the Warriors and Rockets for Conference supremacy.

That being said, for the first time since 2010, a team without LeBron James will represent the Eastern Conference. Using “LeBron James beat us” as an excuse will no longer fly. In other words, it’s put up or shut up.

The Boston Celtics no longer have to lose to LeBron in the Eastern Conference Finals. Philly might be able to complete the process now. The Toronto Raptors do not have to fire their coach after a series loss to LeBron.

The East is now wide open thanks to LeBron’s departure. The thorn in every Eastern Conference team’s side is now banished to the other side of the country. No more excuses. It’s time for Boston, Toronto, Philly, or Washington to finally claim the throne as best in the East. LeBron is now the Western Conference’s problem.

That is until LeBron makes the NBA Finals and beats the East again.


LeBron James Declines Option With Cavs And Becomes A Free Agent

There it is. NBA free agency starts on Sunday, July 1 at 12:01 AM, but the news that we all knew was coming just became official. LeBron James will not opt into his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will become a free agent.

LeBron is the key to this year’s free agency. Wherever he signs will have a domino effect on the status of superstars such as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Will LeBron stay in Cleveland or leave to form a potential super team?

Right off the bat, the opt out news is a win for the Lakers and the Sixers. Both of these teams have the cap room to sign LeBron outright. Behind those teams are the Cavs. Opting into the deal would have meant LeBron would have probably requested a sign and trade. With LeBron becoming a free agent, the Cavs can offer the King more money and more years than any other team in the NBA. In turn, this LeBron news hurts the Rockets because the likeliest path for LeBron to Houston would have been through a sign and trade. It’s still possible, but unlikely to happen.

For my money, there are two teams in the LeBron sweepstakes: the Lakers and Cavs. Both teams have the most to offer. LeBron to LA has been a rumor for a few years now, and it gets stronger and stronger each day.

LeBron to LA makes a lot of sense. The Lakers have the ability to clear enough cap room to not just sign one, but two players to max contracts. That means if LeBron becomes a Laker, Paul George might be right behind him, who opted out of his deal the other day. Like the Cavs, the Thunder can offer Paul George the most money and teaming up with Russell Westbrook is not a bad consolation prize. That being said, if George stays in OKC or takes his talents elsewhere, the Lakers could still sign LeBron and trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard, who reportedly wants out of San Antonio. This would require a lot of moving parts and the deal would in all likelihood be packaged around Brandon Ingram, but the Lakers would be willing to part ways with their young talent for the rights to the best two-way player in the game in Leonard.

Do the Cavs have any chance at resigning King James? Hypothetically, they do, but if I’m a betting man, I’m putting my money on the field to sign LeBron. There’s too much tension between LeBron and Dan Gilbert. LeBron did what he promised he would do, which is win the city of Cleveland a championship. Now, it’s time to win more championships and the best place for him to do that would be in LA, Philly, or Houston.

The NBA offseason is full of rumors and they will only heat up as the days go by. Who knows, maybe LeBron will only sign a one year deal to stay in Cleveland and then play the free agency game again next year. I don’t expect LeBron to drag this decision out. I would bet that he makes his decision by July 4th.

So where will LeBron James end up? Your guess is as good as mine.






Just kidding. He’s going to the Lakers.