MSNBC host Joy Reid has declared NBA star LeBron James to be “today’s equivalent of Muhammad Ali,” in recognition of his social justice activism.
Reid took to Twitter to lionize the billionaire basketball player and put him on par with Ali, a man who truly fought for civil rights. But to make her tweet even more absurd, she added a clip of fictional superhero Black Panther to it, apparently sending the signal that James is a “hero.”
“‘ll say it again. LeBron James is today’s Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Glad he has that platform. Keep speaking, @KingJames,” Reid tweeted on Saturday.
I'll say it again. LeBron James is today's Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Glad he has that platform. Keep speaking, @KingJames. https://t.co/A0YgKvj9pN pic.twitter.com/eyGXwkxLNe
— Joy-Ann Pro-Democracy & Masks Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) February 27, 2021
Reid’s defense of James comes after comments from soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in which the AC Milan forward said James should do what he’s good at, meaning basketball, and leave politics aside.
James has jumped with both feet into left-wing activism, especially in the last four or five years. He has, for instance, endorsed many far-left candidates — including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Raphael Warnock. And recently, James started a group to fight so-called “voter suppression,” even though his organization, More Than a Vote, has not identified a single case of what they claim to be fighting.
James has spent nearly two decades in the NBA and has a long list of championships and accolades to his credit. He has also won several medals playing for the U.S. in the Olympics. All the while, he has been hailed and feted as a national sports hero. Indeed, he was just last year named Time’s athlete of the year.
On the other hand, Muhammad Ali engaged in his sport when real racism was still extant in this country. He faced steep criticism for changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali after adopting Islam as his religion. He was excoriated as a traitor for refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army in 1966. He was exiled from fighting for a time due to his stance on service. He was also monitored as a troublemaker by the NSA and FBI. But through it all, he raised millions for charities and fought for civil rights and the right to free speech before his death in 2016.
On the latter point, as Ali fought for freedom, LeBron James has fought for the opposite by refusing to speak out against his Chinese business partners who continue to enslave millions of their minority citizens who are sent to work camps to make shoes for LeBron James. Worse, James actually spoke out against Houston Rockets exec Darryl Morey when he spoke up in favor of democracy for the Chinese subjects in Hong Kong. In 2019, James outrageously called Morey “uneducated” for expressing his support of the pro-democracy movement.
Nor did Ali bring his politics inside the ring. For all of his outspoken views and opinions, the heavyweight phenom confined his activism to his life away from the ring and didn’t force paying customers to suffer his political diatribes.
James, in contrast, has no qualms about subjecting paying customers or television viewers to his political demonstrations and/or virtue signaling.
There is hardly any comparison at all between James and Muhammad Ali.
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