LeBron James created a stir with the debut of his HBO show “The Shop” on Tuesday as he and a cadre of athletes and celebrities including Odell Beckham, Snoop Dogg and Jon Stewart had surprisingly frank conversations about difficult subjects.
On Thursday a teaser trailer dropped for his upcoming Showtime project titled “Shut Up and Dribble,” and it too promises to be provocative.
LeBron James nods to Russell, Kareem, Kyrie in teaser
The clip opens with shots of Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, sports figures of the past who were not afraid take on difficult social issues, before showing James and former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving wearing “I can’t breathe” T-shirts in honor of Eric Garner, who died after being put in a chokehold by New York police.
Outspoken ESPN journalist Jemele Hill introduces the footage before James talks about the Cavs’ decision to wear those shirts while chants of “Hell no, we won’t go” play in the background.
James continues to not stick to sports
It’s only 15 seconds, but it’s an effective tease, one that promises to take on the challenging issues of 2018 from a sports perspective. It’s the next in the ultimate anti stick-to-sports approach James is taking as he expands his media presence with his move to Los Angeles.
The title of the show is a nod to far-right Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham’s February rant that James and Kevin Durant should “shut up and dribble” rather than speak on social issues, implying that the two aren’t intelligent enough to be involved in the conversation.
James inspired by extreme rhetoric
James has used Ingraham’s words to compel him to speak out more, in fact. As he transitions from a basketball superstar to a powerful media figure on the back end of his career, James is using his charisma, money, message and star power to get in a room with almost anyone he wants.
And people want to get into a room with him.
Now that James has proven he can compel people to speak openly and earnestly in his presence with cameras rolling, it’s going to be a long time before he shuts up.
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