The View From Pluto: Why LeBron James' Words Matter

Sep 27, 2017
Originally published on September 27, 2017 7:02 am

LeBron James didn’t just stick to sports during a 45-minute press conference during Monday’s Cavs’ Media Day. The always outspoken superstar doubled down on his criticism of President Donald Trump, and backed up his weekend tweets in response to Trump uninviting the Golden State Warriors from a White House visit.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks about what he liked from James' comments, and what he wished James wouldn't have said. 

Legitimacy in his words

Pluto says LeBron James stands apart from most other celebrities or athletes when he talks about political issues because of the investments he's made in Akron.

"The LeBron James Family Foundation is not just some shell charity to make you look good," Pluto says. 

"He's wise enough to know this his presence is symbolic and means something. Given more than 10 years of sincere work where he put in time, passion and dollars into the inner city, especially with education with kids, that gives him a lot of clout when he speaks, even when you do not agree with his points."

Sports as a diversion

And, Pluto likes James' comments about sports being a unifier. James alluded to Trump as "that guy that continues to divide us as people." He also said he resented Trump, whom he never called by name, using sports as a divider. 

"It's what I've always thought," Pluto says. "Sports is diversion from life."

No name calling

Pluto says what he didn't like about James' words were the name-calling. During the press conference, James said he didn't regret calling President Trump a "bum" in a tweet over the weekend. 

Pluto says he doesn't like it -- from anyone. 

"I learned this early on in my writing, when I used to use names. And then I realized, that's all people heard. Your core supporters love it. They cheer; they laugh. But if you're really trying to persuade people to your point of view, name-calling throws up a big wall."

Using his voice

James said he's not going to take knee during the anthem; that he'll stand up because his voice speaks loud enough. And Pluto likes that because "behind the voice is some action."


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