Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James responded to Laura Ingraham’s comments on him and NBA star Kevin Durant. (Michael Dwyer/Associated Press)
LeBron James took to social media Friday night to directly address Fox News host Laura Ingraham, after she said James and NBA star Kevin Durant should just “shut up and dribble” rather than share their political commentary.
Ingraham, responding to a wide-ranging conversation between James and Durant in a video segment with ESPN’s Cari Champion, argued Thursday that the two NBA players should stick to sports, calling their comments “ignorant.”
“Must they run their mouths like that? Unfortunately, a lot of kids — and some adults — take these ignorant comments seriously,” Ingraham said on her show Thursday night. “And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball.”
“Oh, and LeBron and Kevin: 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.”
Friday night, James posted an image of a neon sign at the Uninterrupted’s Los Angeles office that read, “I am more than an athlete,” and captioned his post with #wewillnotshutupanddribble. On Twitter, James wrote “#wewillnotshutupanddribble,” as he retweeted a photo of the sign. James co-founded Uninterrupted.
The back-and-forth continued into the night, with Ingraham taking to Twitter to respond to James as she wrote: “Hey King, Come play on my Court next week. You’re invited on the show anytime.”
Durant also responded to Ingraham’s initial “shut up and dribble” remarks, calling the host’s comments racist.
“Ignorance is something I try to ignore,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “That was definitely an ignorant comment. I do play basketball, but I am a civilian and I am a citizen of the United States, so my voice is just as loud as hers, I think — or even louder. I can’t focus on that. I think we’re doing some good things out here, using our platform.
“I kind of feel sorry for her, because she’s not looking through the lens of being free and what that’s about. It feels bad that she doesn’t know what we came from, or who we are personally. She might actually enjoy being around us, and might actually feel inspired by being around not just me or LeBron but guys in our position, anybody of another color who has risen up and done something positive in life.”
Earlier in the day, James was paying no mind to Ingraham’s comments, basking in the sun as he stood in the pool as he posted to his Instagram story with the caption: “Smiling through it all! Can’t believe this is my life.”
In the interview that sparked Ingraham’s response, James and Durant took aim at President Trump, with James saying that the current president is “someone who doesn’t understand the people, and really don’t give a f— about the people.”
Durant also expressed his opinions on the matter: “You need to empower people, you need to encourage people, and that’s what builds a great team. And I feel like our team, as a country, is not run by a great coach.”
After Ingraham’s comments caused a stir Friday, she issued a statement, saying the “shut up and dribble” phrase was a riff off her book she wrote in 2003 titled, “Shut Up & Sing,” and she has used a “variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics.”
“If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians,” she said in the statement. “There was no racial intent in my remarks; false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism.
Other athletes have addressed Ingraham’s comments directed at James and Durant, including James’s former teammate and close friend, Dwyane Wade.
“They use to try and hide it,” Wade wrote in his tweet. “Now the president has given everyone the courage to live their truths.”
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