On the eve of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), there is a growing movement calling for LeBron James to be included among the slate of speakers scheduled to take part in the historic occasion being held remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. The calls came as the NBA superstar has been increasingly vocal when it comes to politics and social justice.
The idea for James to speak at the DNC seemingly began during Saturday morning’s episode of AMJoy on MSNBC during a panel discussion about what Democrats needed to do in terms of outreach to Black men in particular. Tiffany Cross, the anchor who was moderating, asked her Black male panelists for their opinions on the matter, prompting journalist Elie Mystal to suggest LeBron speak at the DNC.
Mystal was addressing the DNC’s scheduled speakers that have a collective average age of 60+ years old, something that could be seen as a turn-off to progressive voters who don’t exactly ascribe to the Democrats’ traditional approach to politics that has been described as being out of touch.
“Is LeBron James speaking at the DNC?” Mystal asked rhetorically during the panel discussion. “No, It’s Mr. stop & frisk,” he answered in a nod to Michael Bloomberg, the 78-year-old former Republican-turned Democrat who secured a spot speaking at the DNC following his failed presidential bid earlier this year.
John Kasich, the 68-year-old Republican and former governor of Ohio, will also be speaking.
That void is where the calls for LeBron to be included stem from.
Not only has the Los Angeles Lakers star been increasingly vocal when it comes to social justice issues, but he has also launched a nonprofit organization to address Black voter suppression. Most recently, he teamed up with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers to set up a voter polling site at Dodgers Stadium. To say he’s been active in politics is an understatement — and the very reason why he would make a welcome addition to the list of DNC speakers.
If LeBron does somehow get the call from the DNC, his schedule could easily allow for him to participate in the convention, which begins Monday and ends Thursday night. The Lakers star is preparing to play in the playoffs of the NBA’s restarted “bubble” season but will not be playing on Monday and Wednesday of this week.
According to data from Pew Research Center, 14 percent of Black men voted for Donald Trump in 2016. While virtually all polling shows that Joe Biden is expected to beat Trump, as the country saw four years ago, there is no guarantee for who will win. Injecting James into the mix to address a group that arguably has been ignored by the Democrats couldn’t hurt if they truly want to reach Black men voters.