LeBron and the Tipping Point for Celebrity Opinions

October 16, 2019 Updated: October 16, 2019


Two things are disgracing the reputation of Los Angeles at this moment—a sickening homeless crisis largely caused by the city’s spineless liberal leadership and the statements of LeBron James, the leading player for the National Basketball Association’s L.A. Lakers.

Because we live in a celebrity culture, the latter is more in the news these days. And that’s part of the problem.

Basketball mega-star James—close to the most famous athlete alive—has seen fit to inform the rest of us ignorant folk that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was “misinformed” when he tweeted in support of the Hong Kong democracy demonstrators. At a Shanghai hotel meeting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the Lakers’ forward even went so far, according to an ESPN report, as to urge punishment of the Houston executive.

They don’t call him King James for nothing.

But back to the “misinformed” assertion. It’s one of the purest examples of projection since Sigmund Freud described that pathology at the turn of the 20th century. James accused Morey of being what he (James) was and is. It’s James who is misinformed, extremely, and not just because, like so many athletes these days, he decided to skip college to extend his remunerative professional career, although that should at least encourage humility.

It didn’t. James seems notably incurious about China and probably other things. When something interrupts the money flow, it’s best not to know about it. Nevertheless, it’s fine to make pronouncements and bully those who might have the guts to do so. Never mind that Mao outdid even Stalin and Hitler in mass murder; he still sells more T-shirts (although Che has given him a run for the money). Never mind that the Chinese regime still keeps millions of people locked in concentration camps. Maybe the poor souls can be offered NBA games on satellite TV after a day of forced labor and political indoctrination.

What a relief!

It’s easy to make fun of James now—Twitter is having a field day—but he’s only the very large tip of a very large iceberg: know-nothing celebrities who opine about politics. They are legion—and not just from the world of sports, although the head coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr—who should know better given that his father was shot in the head by a Shiite terrorist—should start to think with a bit more clarity before he speaks in public.

Recently, however, entertainers seem to have been springing up with their opinions almost as never before, when those opinions are no more valid, in many ways less, than the man or woman on the street.

Privileged Guilt

James let the cat out of the proverbial bag here with his obvious greed, because much of this celebrity behavior is motivated by guilt from an extraordinarily privileged life, even more than it is by an unceasing craving for attention. They are revered and paid millions as an entertainer or an athlete for what many of us would consider just having fun.

So an ultra-left public face is invented, consciously or unconsciously, to assuage this guilt, to pretend to be the “people’s tribune” when they are as far from the people as one could imagine.

Sometimes, this is comical. Robert De Niro can almost make you laugh with his out-of-control obscene attacks on Trump, spewing f-bombs like a machine gunner in an action movie, except you’re not sure you’re laughing with him or at him.

Just the other day, Jane Fonda (net worth $200 million, according to wealthygorilla.com) informed us she’s been a “climate scientist for decades and decades” (evidently a well-paid one) as she was dragged off by the cops to regenerate her activism from a bygone era. Again, comical.

Or nauseating, depending on how you’re feeling that day. We may (fingers crossed) finally be reaching a tipping point, when celebrities opining about political and social issues is a turnoff for the country. Increasingly, their views are being rejected, even ridiculed, by the public.

James’s certainly were. If, in choosing his personal gain over the suffering of more than a billion Chinese under communist rule, he has alienated a sufficient number of Americans, he may inadvertently have done us all a favor.

He may have inched us forward to that glorious day when entertainers, in the words of Fox News host Laura Ingraham, “shut up and sing,” and athletes shut up and play ball.

PJ Media’s co-founder and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Roger L. Simon’s latest novel “The Goat” is available on Amazon.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.