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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. murphy7 - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Points well made. This country-yes-founded by whites guys-has made every conceivable accomodation to each and every race color creed and religion. I understand that inherently there are advantages given to white Americans-deserved or not. What to do? The chips on the shoulders and legacy complaints have got to stop. It’s the only way to begin anew.

  2. Matthew - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:15 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….”
    D-Mack,
    He was not “wielding power” he was acting like an @ss. It doesn’t matter if he was Black, White, or anything else; an @ss is an @ss.
    I don’t agree with or condone Dan Gilbert’s tirade, but Jessee Jackson’s very public response to it was far and away much worse. To make any comparison at all between the petty disagreement between two very rich and very comfortable sports world superstars and the unimaginable horror of slavery is so far beyond any realm of comprehension it is ridiculous.

  3. Matthew - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:16 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….”
    D-Mack,
    He was not “wielding power” he was acting like an @ss. It doesn’t matter if he was Black, White, or anything else; an @ss is an @ss.
    I don’t agree with or condone Dan Gilbert’s tirade, but Jessee Jackson’s very public response to it was far and away much worse. To make any comparison at all between the petty disagreement between two very rich and very comfortable sports world superstars and the unimaginable horror of slavery is so far beyond any realm of comprehension it is ridiculous.

  4. jeff - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Ignorance is racism and vice-versa…I guess if he would have said the backlash was just as ignorant as his “decision” production everyone would be satisfied…However his ignorance produced 3 million dollars for the boys and girls club…and outed his ignorant (former)team owner/ president…The backlash produced nothing but more ignorance…

  5. Mind_Over_Matter - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    LeMoron and his manager (who is not so Maverick) need to find other ways to get attention. Do you research… there are more African American players than White, Hispanic, Asian etc. so should we pull the race card for switching teams? Don’t try to find blame for something that does not exist and who cares if people (all races included) do not like you. I highly doubt your mother would be proud of the comments about race you made. Maybe you should retract and make an apology for saying something stupid.
    We all love basketball so do what you do best… stop talking and play a good game. Hopefully LeBron’s ego won’t make him a failure on the court, so get back to earth on your own terms. Everything that goes up, must come down… even an ego.

  6. Mind_Over_Matter - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    LeMoron and his manager (who is not so Maverick) need to find other ways to get attention. Do you research… there are more African American players than White, Hispanic, Asian etc. so should we pull the race card for switching teams? Don’t try to find blame for something that does not exist and who cares if people (all races included) do not like you. I highly doubt your mother would be proud of the comments about race you made. Maybe you should retract and make an apology for saying something stupid.
    We all love basketball so do what you do best… stop talking and play a good game. Hopefully LeBron’s ego won’t make him a failure on the court, so get back to earth on your own terms. Everything that goes up, must come down… even an ego.

  7. What goes around - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    What goes around comes around…Danny Ferry, who is white, jilted the Clippers and he was booed every time he came to town,and now Lebron jilts Danny Ferry and Lebron will be hearing it for the rest of his career.
    I’m only upset with Lebron because he quit on his team during the playoffs.

  8. D. PLACE - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Lebron may have hundreds of millions of dollars, but he now has no fan base, no hometown, and still can’t lead a team to the title. Guess what Lebron, D-Wade is the leader of that team and you’re along for the ride. Don’t bother coming back to NE Ohio, NO ONE CARES!!!
    By the way, is Delonte West still dating your mother?????

  9. Anonymous - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    I am willing to bet everything I have that you are white….

  10. Greg - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    I am willing to bet everything I have that you are white….

  11. Moe - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    This is ludicrous. This is absolutely unequivocally RIDICULOUS !!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE. This is about greed in place of loyalty PERIOD. GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE LEBRON !!! Absurd at best. You will never in if you carry this attitude into your golden age of your career.

  12. No more - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Well i will just tell it like it is, I’m white and yes i got really mad. for one there’s this black guy making all this money and got all these people(all color)looking up to him and what does he do. walk out on us all. I should have that money and talent. who cares if its about color. It is what it is let not hide it anymore.

  13. No more - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Well i will just tell it like it is, I’m white and yes i got really mad. for one there’s this black guy making all this money and got all these people(all color)looking up to him and what does he do. walk out on us all. I should have that money and talent. who cares if its about color. It is what it is let not hide it anymore.

  14. Moe - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    This is ludicrous. This is absolutely unequivocally RIDICULOUS !!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE. This is about greed in place of loyalty PERIOD. GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE LEBRON !!! Absurd at best. You will never in if you carry this attitude into your golden age of your career.

  15. Moe - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    This is ludicrous. This is absolutely unequivocally RIDICULOUS !!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE. This is about greed in place of loyalty PERIOD. GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE LEBRON !!! Absurd at best. You will never win if you carry this attitude into the golden age of your career.

  16. No more - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Well i will just tell it like it is, I’m white and yes i got really mad. for one there’s this black guy making all this money and got all these people(all color)looking up to him and what does he do. walk out on us all. I should have that money and talent. who cares if its about color. It is what it is let not hide it anymore.

  17. No More - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Well i will just tell it like it is, I’m white and yes i got really mad. for one there’s this black guy making all this money and got all these people(all color)looking up to him and what does he do. walk out on us all. I should have that money and talent. who cares if its about color. It is what it is let not hide it anymore.

  18. No More - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Well i will just tell it like it is, I’m white and yes i got really mad. for one there’s this black guy making all this money and got all these people(all color)looking up to him and what does he do. walk out on us all. I should have that money and talent. who cares if its about color. It is what it is let not hide it anymore.

  19. No More - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Well i will just tell it like it is, I’m white and yes i got really mad. for one there’s this black guy making all this money and got all these people(all color)looking up to him and what does he do. walk out on us all. I should have that money and talent. who cares if its about color. It is what it is let not hide it anymore.

  20. Curt - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Why do all that naggers gotta make everything about race?

  21. Curt - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Why do all that naggers gotta make everything about race?

  22. No More - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Well i will just tell it like it is, I’m white and yes i got really mad. for one there’s this black guy making all this money and got all these people(all color)looking up to him and what does he do. walk out on us all. I should have that money and talent. who cares if its about color. It is what it is let not hide it anymore.

  23. Anonymous - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Why do all the naggers gotta make everything about race? I don’t know who’s worse, LeBron or the “slave” Albert Haynesworth.

  24. DK - Sep 30, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Firstly, you are stupid to assume that race played a role only when he is hated. Where were you when so many were people of all races were just wishing to go to a ball game to see Lebron play? Where was this racial slur when Lebron made hundreds of millions of dollars without looking at his race? Now that you are so convinced about race being main reason behind the backlash – can you please explain how this could have been any different with player of a different race?

  25. realmoney - Sep 30, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    A lot of angry man and women on this post. WOW. One thing for sure, white america is upset. A black person is always the punching bag. The big bad black monster is coming to take over. He has a mind and an opinion. Welcome LBJ(top 2%), to the real world(98% everyone else). Are u reading this,LBJ. The hate is real. Where were all the white brothers and sisters when black people where being killed, hung, no schooling, homes burnt, taking of entire black communites, banning black doctors, third world treatment, etc. The list can go on an on. Admit you have no idea about the conditions a black person has to live with or in the past. But, most of you harbor hate for a black person, outwardly or secretly. What a shame. We dont control the money, really. Most of you have been programed to think you can control a black person or are better than a black person. And the majority of blacks were told not to speak up, defer to the white person.
    Theses are real issues. Not LBJ saying race played a role in peoples’ response. But it shows how a subject on race can cause people to come out of the closet. Black people in america always assimilated into america society. A high majority of whites did not want to allow them to assimilate. Thank the Lord people can change. Whites help elect Obama. White racism has become less, compare that to the past. Just admit the past was hell for blacks more then the average america, really. It will calm you down, when one realizes the hell a black person had to endure.

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