“Shut Up and Dribble” is a documentary on the historical impact of NBA players beyond basketball and their ever-evolving commitment to social justice. The title came in response to a derogatory comment from Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham, who told James and Kevin Durant to “shut up and dribble” when the pair denounced President Donald Trump as a racist in a February interview.
Jemele Hill’s departure from ESPN
Hill has also been critical of Trump, calling him a “white supremacist” on Twitter last year. The White House called for Hill’s job. ESPN issued an apology on Hill’s behalf, suggesting she “recognizes her actions were inappropriate,” although she stood by her statement in subsequent interviews.
ESPN suspended Hill in October 2017 for “a second violation of our social media guidelines” after she suggested people who disagree with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ stance on players kneeling for the national anthem could boycott the team’s advertisers. Not long afterward, Hill left her role as a “SportsCenter” anchor to write for ESPN’s “The Undefeated,” a website dedicated to race and culture.
In August, Hill and ESPN agreed to part ways, with Hill focusing on her production company, Lodge Freeway Media, which she established with fellow “Undefeated” writer Kelley L. Carter. Now free from ESPN’s media constraints, Hill is speaking freely on political issues, including those involving Trump.
“I think LeBron, like a lot of people, has been very frustrated by the behavior of this administration,” Hill told The Hollywood Reporter. “[Black Americans] feel very insulted and vulnerable within this time because of who’s in charge.”
LeBron James’ support for Jemele Hill
After Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides” of an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned deadly when a white supremacist drove his car into a group of protesters, James publicly supported Hill and denounced the president in an interview for his “Uninterrupted” media platform:
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) September 23, 2017
“We got Jemele Hill and Colin Kaepernick and all these people are speaking up — it’s for the greater cause; it’s for us to all come together. It’s not about division, it’s not about dividing. We, as the American people, just actually need to come together even more stronger, man, because this is a very critical time and me being in the position that I’m in, I had to voice this to ya’ll. So, love ya’ll man.”
Their partnership on “Shut Up and Dribble” was born from their shared interest in social justice. “Once you’re in the club,” Hill told The Hollywood Reporter,” it’s something that binds you.” Originally a commentator on the project, Hill was recently asked to narrate the documentary, and she credited James for following through on his recent public pledges to support African-American women.
“Lately LeBron has talked about gender and wanting to uplift and position black women in particular,” Hill told The Hollywood Reporter. “I get the sense that this is all part of that. He was raised by a black woman, he is married to a black woman and he is raising a black woman. If you look at the societal ladder, black women remain on the lowest rung. He clearly understands that we are facing a unique battle. It means a lot that he understands the intricacies of that.”
“Shut Up and Dribble” is scheduled to debut on Showtime in November.
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