The docuseries ‘Blackballed’ Revisits LeBron James' Comment On Racism: ‘There’s No Place For That In Our Game’
Jill Painter Lopez
Former Clipper Matt Barnes praised LeBron James in the new documentary series "Blackballed" for being the first NBA player to publicly denounce former Clipper owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments in leaked tapes.
“I think LeBron is one of the most, outside of Muhammad Ali, one of the most vocal superstars we’ve ever had as far as speaking up against the bullshit,” Barnes said in the documentary.
James was a member of the Miami Heat when he denounced Sterling in a nationally-televised interview following Game 3 of a first round playoff game against Charlotte in 2014.
“There’s no place for that in our game,” James said at the time. “We’ve found a way to make this the greatest game in the world and for comments like that, it taints our game, and we can’t have that.”
In the tapes, Sterling told his then-girlfriend, V. Stiviano, that "it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people" after she posted a photo of herself with Magic Johnson on social media.
After Stiviano retorted that he has "a whole team that's black," Sterling said, "I support them and give them food and clothes and cars and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?”
Those tapes were released by TMZ during the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs. NBA commissioner Adam Silver eventually responded by banning Sterling from the NBA for life.
James has long used his platform to speak out about social and racial injustices.
James recently posted about Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man who was gunned down in February by two white men while running in Georgia.
In a tweet on May 6, James wrote: “We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud(Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!"
Early in the documentary series, James and his Heat teammates were shown wearing hoodies in protest of the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, who was gunned down by George Zimmerman in a Florida neighborhood.
At the time, James tweeted the photo with the hashtags #wearealltrayvonmartin #hoodies #stereotyped #wewantjustice.