Parsing Through LeBron's Comments on Brittney Griner

Updated: Jul 18


Photo Credit: Elserbio00, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Oof. Talk about putting a foot in your mouth. LeBron just basically swallowed a pair of steel-toed Redwing boots. Yikes.


LeBron is no stranger to making strong, often divisive comments. He’s been outspoken on social issues, harshly critical of former President Donald Trump, and a galvanizing force for causes he’s passionate about. But, in a trailer for a new episode of Lebron’s HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, the four-time MVP completely, totally, and eye-poppingly missed the mark with his comments about Brittney Griner.


Just a refresher: Griner, a superstar of the WNBA, has been detained in Russia for months after being arrested on charges of drug smuggling, namely hashish oil in a vape cartridge. It’s a good bet these charges are trumped up, misleading or downright false - given this is Russia we’re talking about - but no matter the case, Griner is stuck in a Russian prison. It’s a pretty terrible situation for everyone involved - for Griner, her wife Cherelle Griner, for all of her friends and family, for every US Diplomat, Congressperson or member of Biden’s administration who now has to add “freeing an American hostage from Russia” to their to-do list.


That’s why it was so startling to see LeBron make a complete fool of himself when he opined, “How can she feel like America has her back? I would be feeling like, 'Do I even wanna go back to America?’”


Ok now. Take a deep breath. Exhale.


What the “bleep?”


Dude, the whole reason Griner is in this mess is because she’s not in America.


It’s that simple.


The only thing on Griner’s mind right now is “oh my God I just absolutely cannot wait to get back to America.” She sure as shit doesn’t want to stay in Russia, but that’s obvious to apparently every thinking individual on this planet other than LeBron. The most charitable way to look at this is maybe LeBron was in the middle of a fugue state when he said that and he’ll retrack. An uncharitable reading would suggest that LeBron will go out of his way, over a bridge, through a tunnel, hop on a plane and paddle a canoe by himself to a remote island just to badmouth the United States.


To be fair here, I’m digging into a quote from a trailer for an episode that hasn’t been released. I’ve never seen the show and don’t ever plan to. That said, maybe LeBron should turn on the news or something? I don’t know, I’m at a complete loss for how someone could say something that disconnected.


On the other hand, let’s pretend he’s serious and he really thinks Griner should reconsider returning to America. Should she just abandon her wife? Does he actually expect her to consider staying in Russia? Should she accept her prison sentence, serve her time, and then apply for Russian citizenship? Maybe she can join in on the invasion of Ukraine, I’m sure the Kremlin would welcome the help.


On second thought - hell no. Griner is a 6’10”, black, homosexual American woman detained in one of the most openly hostile nations to black people, homosexuals and Americans in the entire world. There is no place on Earth she would want to stay in less.


LeBron also conveniently ignores the complicated geo-political chess match that’s taking place between President Biden and Vladimir Putin, the president/dictator/Hitler-wanabe/Stalin-fanboy of Russia. Griner is a pawn. So are the other Americans locked up in Russian prisons. There are Russians locked up in American prisons. There is a WAR. GOING ON. IN UKRAINE. WITH RUSSIA.


Is LeBron perhaps suggesting that Griner appeal to another nation to free her? Should she ask Canada? France? China? The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan? Should she reach out to a nearby galaxy? Are the Monstars listening?


Again, I’m bashing LBJ based on two sentences. But this is just too much. The America-hate has gone way too far. If anything, the past few years should be reinforcing how lucky we all are to be Americans, not undermining.


Russia is currently invading one of its neighbors because they want you to believe a country with a Jewish president is actually run by Nazis. China is rounding up Uyghur Muslims, throwing them into concentration camps, and brainwashing them into giving up their culture and heritage. The Prince of Saudi Arabia ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist and Saudi Arabian national. North Korea will throw you in jail for having an unauthorized cellphone.


America still has problems. I get it, you get it, we all get it. But we can’t keep letting these social, political and economic issues get in the way of recognizing the reality of being an American citizen. Nearly every other individual on Earth would pay dearly for that privilege.


There are many reasons people come to this country and many reasons people don’t. Some people think this is the greatest country on Earth, others feel it needs a lot of work - some might even say the system is broken.


The undisputable, irrefutable, critical fact is that America is the freest nation on the planet. One reason is the magnificent framework the founders established 246-years ago. Another is our state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind, and expertly trained, equipped and prepared military. The U.S. Navy alone is probably the single greatest deterrent to any sort of foreign invasion we could possibly imagine. Don’t take that for granted.


Hopefully, LeBron wasn’t thinking things through when he made those comments. Maybe when the rest of the episode airs it will provide some clarity. Maybe HBO’s video editors made a mistake and spliced together two separate and unrelated quotes. Maybe this entire thing is a deepfake designed by the Illuminati to make us think that LeBron is too clueless to be the leader of an underground revolution that will one day see the overthrow of all the governments on Earth and we’ll all live together by eating only organic tofu and broccoli and recycling our urine into drinking water. Wishful thinking?


The sad truth is LeBron just got carried away with the America-bashing. He got a little too loose. If this were a basketball game, his pass would have sailed into the second row. Next time, LeBron, please remember where you are before you forget where you’re not.


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