5 Times LeBron James Refused To 'Shut Up And Dribble'

A conservative commentator once told the basketball star to keep his political views to himself. King James fearlessly refuses to stay silent.

Basketball superstar LeBron James is not one to remain silent on social justice issues and racial inequality. He’s been fearless in the face of backlash from those who criticize him for using his platform.

In 2018, Fox News host Laura Ingraham infamously told the basketball star to “shut up and dribble” after his remarks in an interview about the challenges of being Black and a public figure in America, NPR reported at the time. The conservative commentator was also perturbed by his discussion about politics and President Donald Trump.

"It's always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball," Ingraham said. "Keep the political comments to yourselves. ... Shut up and dribble."

But her diatribe backfired. “I will not just shut up and dibble,” King James told reporters when asked about Ingraham’s statements. He said there are too many kids who look to him for leadership, and he thanked the Fox News host for helping him “create more awareness.

Most recently, James used his platform on Wednesday (Nov. 30) to call out reporters on a double standard in the way they cover Black athletes.

RELATED: LeBron James Asks Reporters Why He Was Never Questioned About Jerry Jones Photo

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been in a media firestorm after a photo surfaced of him  in a crowd of white students attempting to block six Black students from entering North Little Rock High School in 1957. During the press conference, James questioned reporters about why he was asked about Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s controversial statements but nothing about Jones.

“I was wondering why I haven’t gotten a question about the Jerry Jones photo, but when the Kyrie thing was going on, you guys were quick to ask questions about that,” James said.

Here are five more times James refused to “shut up and dribble.”

  • Trayvon Martin

    In 2012, James tweeted a picture of himself and Miami Heat teammates wearing hoodies in support of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager who was fatally shot by self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Martin, 17, was wearing a hoodie and appeared suspicious to Zimmerman. A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder in 2013.

  • Eric Garner

    James, then with the Cleveland Cavaliers, along with other players, wore a T-shirt in 2014 that read, “I Can’t Breathe” in support of social justice protesters. Widespread demonstrations erupted when no charges were brought in the homicide by suffocation of Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Garner’s last words, caught on video, were “I can’t breathe,” a plea for Pantaleo to release a chokehold.

  • Police reform

    After the murder of George Floyd by convicted police officer Derek Chauvin, James backed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act working its way through Congress. Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on Floyds neck for more than nine minutes while the unarmed Black man was handcuffed and face down on the ground.

    "I’m in full support of the George Floyd bill. It will change the landscape of how policing is modified and how policing is looked at. It holds a lot of accountability. It will make our communities and our great nation a better place," James said after a match against the Phoenix Suns in May 2021, according to USA Today.

  • Breonna Taylor

    “We want the cops arrested who committed that crime,” James said in July 2020, demanding justice Breonna Taylor. “As one of the leaders of this league, I want her family to know and the state of Kentucky to know that we feel for her and we want justice. That’s what it’s all about. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. This is a wrong situation that’s going on in my eyes.”

    In a botched “no-knock” raid on her apartment, Louisville police officers fatally shot the 26-year-old emergency medical technician. The individuals the police were searching for were not at her residence. Officers later admitted to falsifing information to obtain the search warrant.

  • Colin Kaepernick

    James strongly defended Colin Kaepernick when then-New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees condemned Kaepernick for starting a social justice demonstration in 2016 that involved going down on one knee at the start of games during the national anthem.

    Breese told Yahoo Finance, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

    In a June 2020 tweet, James told Brees that he “literally still doesn’t understand why Kap was kneeling.” He explained to Breese that it’s about social justice – not about disrespecting the flag or those who served the U.S. military.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive newsletters, marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. For more information about our data practices, consult our Privacy Policy.