Skip to content

LeBron James says race played role in backlash to his decision

Sep 29, 2010, 10:36 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for lebron_decision.jpgDid race play a role in the backlash — both in the media and in the general public — to LeBron James’ decision to take his talents to South Beach?

LeBron James and his business partner and close friend Maverick Carter both said yes in an interview on CNN Wednesday night (hat tip to Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal, and we should note race was a very small part of this interview, discussed and everyone moved on).

“I think so at times. It’s always a race factor,” LeBron said as part of a segment that focused largely on Carter.

“It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written,” Carter said.

A lot of the backlash seemed to be focused less on the choice itself — outside of Cleveland, anyway — and more on what came off as an egotistical way to do it. But both Carter and James said that “The Decision” — the hour-long show on ESPN announcing his move to Miami — may have had something to do with that.

“The execution could’ve been a little better and I take some of blame for that,” Carter said.

But James noted that the event raised $3 million for the Boys & Girls Club and any “heat” he took was worth it.

There certainly has been a lot of LeBron hate. The numbers back up what James and Carter have said about race.

Among blacks, LeBron’s positive Q rating among dropped from 52 percent in January to 39 — however his negative Q rating barely changed, going from 14 percent to 15. Blacks seemed to change what they thought of him, but to a more neutral stance.

Among non-blacks, LeBron’s negative Q rating went from 24 percent to 44 after the decision.

Why different races reacted to the situation in very different ways would make an interesting study in race relations in America.

612 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. BadBozo - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    You know, the NBA is becoming about as prestigious and dignified as “The Gathering of the Juggalos”. Uh, no offense to your Juggalos out there….
    “Next Up, LeBron James and Tila Tequila duet.
    Thank you.

  2. Jargon - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:42 PM

    The Numbers did not back him up. The numbers were a completely unrelated sampling of his overall popularity among certain demographics. there is nothing to suggest that race was a factor in the negative response except that they noted certain races reacted in a way differing from others. But it’s probably safe to say those questioned were of differing economic and sociographic standing as well. Any of these factors could account for the difference. Didn’t have to be pegged to race.

  3. BadBozo - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:44 PM

    You know, the NBA is becoming about as prestigious and dignified as “The Gathering of the Juggalos”. Uh, no offense to your Juggalos out there….
    “Next Up, LeBron James and Tila Tequila duet.
    Thank you.

  4. js22 - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    This is that one time where race had nothing to do with it. Always bringing up the race card.

  5. davefoley - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    “Lets see, a Black man wielding power in a way no one has ever seen and he gets backlash from it. Could race play a factor….”
    Actually that sounds more like some other black guy I know… our President.

  6. Gary - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    Race my foot. It was the city of Cleveland threw their heart and soul behind someone that was homegrown and was making the sports in that town relevant again. What does he do, like Jordan, Magic, and Barkley said, took the easy way out. He would have been truly the king if he stayed in Cleveland and when they won a championship, crowned a savior and forever cherrished in that town.
    Now, he is yet another long line of people crying race because they are not loved or don’t get their way.
    Boo frickin who.

  7. papa g - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:54 PM

    this guy is just a despicable, greedy, useless human being

  8. papa g - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    this guy is just a despicable, classless, greedy, useless human being

  9. Gary - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:58 PM

    Race my foot. It was the city of Cleveland threw their heart and soul behind someone that was homegrown and was making the sports in that town relevant again. What does he do, like Jordan, Magic, and Barkley said, took the easy way out. He would have been truly the king if he stayed in Cleveland and when they won a championship, crowned a savior and forever cherrished in that town.
    Now, he is yet another long line of people crying race because they are not loved or don’t get their way.
    Boo frickin who.

  10. Gary - Sep 29, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    Race my foot. It was the city of Cleveland threw their heart and soul behind someone that was homegrown and was making the sports in that town relevant again. What does he do, like Jordan, Magic, and Barkley said, took the easy way out. He would have been truly the king if he stayed in Cleveland and when they won a championship, crowned a savior and forever cherrished in that town.
    Now, he is yet another long line of people crying race because they are not loved or don’t get their way.
    Boo frickin who.

  11. BEASTMAN - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    HOWDY FOLKS,
    I WOMDER WHAT GAME IS PLAYED WITH THE RACE CARD? I HAVE HEARD IT SO MUCH BUT NEVER FROM SOMEONE WHITE. YOU AND THE MAJORITY OF PROFESSIONAL ATHLETS WINE BUT ALL YOU DO IS ACT IN A WHITE WORLS CIRCUS. NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY YOU MAKE YOU WILL NEVER BE WHITE. THAT IS WHY THE MAJORITY OF YOU SNOTS MARRY OR HAVE WHITE WOMWN IN YOUR LIFE OR LIGHTR SKIN BLACK WOMEN WHO THEY THINK THEY CAN BE PASSED OFF AS WHITE. ALONZO MORNING IS A HERO TO MANY IN MIAMI. A REAL PERSON WHO IS ABLE TO PUT IN SECOND TO THE MORNINGS GENEROSITY.HINK I WAS TO HARSH.
    SO IN CLOSING YOU AND YOU MERRY BANDSOF JERKS CAN MAKE ALL THAT THERE IS TO MAKE BUT IN THE END LEBRON IS STILL A HIGHSCHOOL DROPOUT, LIKE SO MANY IN PROFESSIONAL ATHLETICS.
    DO YOU T

  12. Gary - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:01 AM

    Race my foot. It was the city of Cleveland threw their heart and soul behind someone that was homegrown and was making the sports in that town relevant again. What does he do, like Jordan, Magic, and Barkley said, took the easy way out. He would have been truly the king if he stayed in Cleveland and when they won a championship, crowned a savior and forever cherrished in that town.
    Now, he is yet another long line of people crying race because they are not loved or don’t get their way.
    Boo frickin who.

  13. wehatelebron - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:09 AM

    what an idiot

  14. mark - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    James, eat feces James you arrogant narcissistic POS. An overwhelming number of people with a hell of a lot more brains than you enjoy basketball so quit trying to insult their intelligence you ignorant prick

  15. jackbnimble1 - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    That’s ridiculous. He selfishly jilted his team and fans and then expects a going-away party? This guy is nothing more than a self-centered, pathetically paranoid ego-maniac.

  16. Mal - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Why the hell can’t this jackass keep his mouth shut. He already looks stupid and childish for “the decision” and now Lequeen is acting as if its a racial component because he looks bad. Keep it up. Kill the rest of those endorsements! What a moron.

  17. what the?? - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    OK, first off, beastman, that whole comment sounded pretty racist (and I am white), so am gonna ignore the huge stereotype and just ask you to stop contributing to the conversation. Next, the fact that he thinks race has something to do with the reaction is about the dumbest thing I have heard. Right next to the fact that CNN decided to ask that question to bait him into getting this response. I didn’t lose respect for him for dropping Cleveland, because the team would do the same to him if it was in their best interest. It is a business. I did lose respect for him for bit**ing out and creating this little team of his. They have become a horrible spectacle. When they introduce them, there is only 3 guys…where the hell are the other 2 players from the starting team?? Doesn’t matter I guess, cause they’re not cool.

  18. what the?? - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    OK, first off, beastman, that whole comment sounded pretty racist (and I am white), so am gonna ignore the huge stereotype and just ask you to stop contributing to the conversation. Next, the fact that he thinks race has something to do with the reaction is about the dumbest thing I have heard. Right next to the fact that CNN decided to ask that question to bait him into getting this response. I didn’t lose respect for him for dropping Cleveland, because the team would do the same to him if it was in their best interest. It is a business. I did lose respect for him for bit**ing out and creating this little team of his. They have become a horrible spectacle. When they introduce them, there is only 3 guys…where the hell are the other 2 players from the starting team?? Doesn’t matter I guess, cause they’re not cool.

  19. tony - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Well he was a free agency, so he can go where ever he choose, so all ya’ll hater can go to H…

  20. toeknee - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    Why is it always race with black people?
    Where are the white players in the NBA?
    This guy LeBoob just may think he made a mistake. His body language points in that direction.
    What did Duane wade learn at Marquette?
    What about his ailing elbow.
    Will anybody watch the Nothing But African basketball league this year.
    Why did they put the clamps on Dan Gilbert?
    LeBoob told the entire front office whe was COMING BACK!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. stupified - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:29 AM

    Race ??? Getting pulled over for going 1 m.p.h. over the speed limit on the way home from work because you look like a minority is a race issue…telling the world that you are “Taking your talents to South Beach”is an arrogance issue. We know he’s good,he knows he’s good..do you need to have a “TV Show” to tell us all that ? Free agency has been around in sports for years and the guy has (not a press conference) but a full blown TV Show to tell everyone where he is signing…but wait,on top of the fact that he plays in Cleveland and is from the area. Amazing !!! He may go down in NBA lore as one of the greats by his talent but as a person he needs to grow up or at least stop being stupid and just keep your mouth shut.

  22. toeknee - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    Why is it always race with black people?
    Where are the white players in the NBA?
    This guy LeBoob just may think he made a mistake. His body language points in that direction.
    What did Duane wade learn at Marquette?
    What about his ailing elbow.
    Will anybody watch the Nothing But African basketball league this year.
    Why did they put the clamps on Dan Gilbert?
    LeBoob told the entire front office whe was COMING BACK!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. The king suck - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    This guy really need to keep his mouth shut…most of the backlash came from BLACK former basketball players…It is racism on black on black…

  24. Lou - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    He put himself in the toilet with his “Decision” tv show. And now he’s flushed himself down. I’m trying hard not to wish that he has a disastrous season…

  25. PJ - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:35 AM

    A douchebag is a douchebag no matter what color, race, creed, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. A ginormous douchbag plays the race card when one has acted like an obvious douchebag.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Stephenson goes elsewhere for his future
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (4901)
  2. L. James (3620)
  3. A. Wiggins (3607)
  4. E. Bledsoe (3296)
  5. R. Allen (3187)
  1. K. Bryant (3073)
  2. C. Boozer (2922)
  3. D. Rose (2920)
  4. L. Stephenson (2842)
  5. K. Marshall (2440)