They Cheer For Lebron; They Fear Tamir
According to Nike and Lebron James, the city is “all in.”
It’s an emotional commercial showing people from various backgrounds uniting with the city of Cleveland and King James to believe that together they can all participate in bringing a NBA championship to the state Lebron calls home.
But Nike is good with getting people to purchase their products while simultaneously making you forget about the obvious contradictions.
Contradictions that many urban cities are facing. The fact that people of all colors, shapes, sizes, and bank accounts can rally behind black bodies in NBA-apparel in professional sports arenas but those same people will watch a video of 12-year old Tamir Rice getting gunned down in 2.0 seconds by a Cleveland police officer and respond differently: “he shouldn’t have been playing with a toy gun…where are his parents…those thugs need to pull their pants up and learn some respect…”
And the contradictions go on and on and on and on in Cleveland. The King is celebrated. His image is protected. The media hangs on his every word.
While Tamir, is vilified. This 12-year old boy that they thought was a man caused officers so much fear, that rather than taking their time, making sure they were at a safe distance, and taking the proper cover, they take Tamir’s life.
And when Lebron was a 12-year old man-child he was already making coaches and agents, salivate for the opportunity to brand him as their property.
He signs a $98 million dollar contract with Nike before he is even chosen by the league. He becomes Man of the Year. He has achieved the American dream. He is President Obama’s post-racial America.
His tattoos, his high-school education, his single-parent upbringing in an impoverished community do not make him a statistic. They make him a King.
They made Tamir a target.
But King James is making his 5th straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance and has a chance to sweep the Atlanta Hawks in Cleveland in front of his home crowd, his family, his city. The mood is electric.
While protesters yell from outside in the streets that “Black Lives Matter”, Lebron will do his pre-game ritual of putting his “Hands Up” as he prepares to shoot…
Tamir’s life cut short, while Lebron strives to cut the nets.
Two souls. Two mothers’ sons. To young, black men.
Lebron and Tamir.
Both representing the same city.
One is loved.
One was feared.
Lebron has something “they” need. He is profitable. That isn’t to discount the hard work I believe he does. It’s just a fact. Professional sports is one of the few places a black man can be more of himself and not be penalized for his blackness–that is as long as he keeps his stats up.