LeBron James Believes Race a Factor in 'The Decision' Backlash
On Wednesday, both James and Maverick Carter, a childhood friend who also serves as LRMR's CEO, were interviewed by CNN's Soledad O'Brien to discuss "The Decision." In the middle of Wednesday's interview, O'Brien posed a question about the backlash that followed James' announcement: "Do you think there's a role that race plays in this?"
James responded to O'Brien by saying, "I think so at times. It's always, you know, a race factor."
Carter added, "It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure."
On Thursday, James was asked about the comments following practice with the Heat, but he refused to backdown or clarify. "I'm not going to go back on my words,'' James said. "People are looking too far into it. I said what I had to say and I'll continue to move on.''
During Wednesday's interview, James and Carter strongly defended the manner in which James made his announcement by pointing out the $3 million the show raised for the Boys & Girls Club of America.
"For me to have an opportunity to give back to the Boys & Girls Club of America, that I would never change that," James said. "And if I have to take heat to give back to kids, I would do it the same way every single time."
Frank Sanchez, V.P. of the Boys & Girls Club of America also chimed in, "LeBron was using a significant moment in time to benefit young people. And a lot of people can take those opportunities and make it about them. He really was -- his goal was to make it about kids and make it about giving opportunities for kids."
While Carter noted in the interview "the execution could have been a little better and I take some of the blame for that," he does believe that it was done for a good cause, and race definitely played a factor in the backlash and its lingering effects. Following "The Decision," James has been accused of being egocentric by promoting himself on the special, and criticized by fans, several Hall of Fame players and several coaches and executives around the league for taking an alleged easier route to a championship by joining two other superstars as opposed to leading a team on his own.
In response, James noted on Twitter that he's making a list of those who have criticized him. When asked to explain what he meant by that, Carter spoke up for his friend.
"That means the fuel that he'll be playing with will be super duper duper premium," he said. "He usually plays with super premium. This year, that's a little higher grade of fuel."