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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. dave - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    Even though his behavior was boorish, with the TV special and all, there is no doubt that the high level of outrage is based on race. Look at the overreactions to Tiger Woods situation, and the constant screaming since Obama was elected President. The noise levels would have been much lower if these three were white.

  2. toeknee - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    YES, he told EVERYBODY in the front office, he was COMING BACK.
    To Pat Riley: Stop trying to look like a gangster. You are NO JOHN GOTTI. GOTTI had more class than you did…..he didn’t take from the poor…………..you did!
    To Pat Riley: You BOUGHT your championships in Los Angeles too.
    Where is our favorite Jew, David Stern, throughout all of this?
    Yes, the NBA, Nothing But Africans! And, they all look like they came out of prison. The NFL isn’t too far behind.

  3. RRR - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    All I want to say is the only thing “The Decision” proved was that LeBron never was and never will be a leader!!! The CAVS did all they could do and would have continued to throw players at LeBron to help him to the promised land. He could not bring the group together as a team. If he did not have the ‘nads to do the job, he should have been out front about it and I am sure that Ferry and Gilbert would have gone out and gotten a real team leader a la Chauncey Billups to bolster the team. I know he was young when he arrived but it is obvious that it was all about him and still is. Watch your back Pat Riley!

  4. toeknee - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    YES, he told EVERYBODY in the front office, he was COMING BACK.
    To Pat Riley: Stop trying to look like a gangster. You are NO JOHN GOTTI. GOTTI had more class than you did…..he didn’t take from the poor…………..you did!
    To Pat Riley: You BOUGHT your championships in Los Angeles too.
    Where is our favorite Jew, David Stern, throughout all of this?
    Yes, the NBA, Nothing But Africans! And, they all look like they came out of prison. The NFL isn’t too far behind.

  5. SandyJer - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    The backlash had nothing to do with race but everything to do with the content of his character. To have his boss find out on national TV what his decision was showed a huge lack of character and integrity. And that is just one aspect of the whole Le Debacle.

  6. dave - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    Even though his behavior was boorish, with the TV special and all, there is no doubt that the high level of outrage is based on race. Look at the overreactions to Tiger Woods situation, and the constant screaming since Obama was elected President. The noise levels would have been much lower if these three were white.

  7. Mack - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    i don’t know about studies about race, but me and most of my friends felt that Lebron made a bitch move by going to miami, and we are all black

  8. toeknee - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:40 AM

    YES, he told EVERYBODY in the front office, he was COMING BACK.
    To Pat Riley: Stop trying to look like a gangster. You are NO JOHN GOTTI. GOTTI had more class than you did…..he didn’t take from the poor…………..you did!
    To Pat Riley: You BOUGHT your championships in Los Angeles too.
    Where is our favorite Jew, David Stern, throughout all of this?
    Yes, the NBA, Nothing But Africans! And, they all look like they came out of prison. The NFL isn’t too far behind.

  9. dave - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:41 AM

    Even though his behavior was boorish, with the TV special and all, there is no doubt that the high level of outrage is based on race. Look at the overreactions to Tiger Woods situation, and the constant screaming since Obama was elected President. The noise levels would have been much lower if these three were white.

  10. toeknee - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    YES, he told EVERYBODY in the front office, he was COMING BACK.
    To Pat Riley: Stop trying to look like a gangster. You are NO JOHN GOTTI. GOTTI had more class than you did…..he didn’t take from the poor…………..you did!
    To Pat Riley: You BOUGHT your championships in Los Angeles too.
    Where is our favorite Jew, David Stern, throughout all of this?
    Yes, the NBA, Nothing But Africans! And, they all look like they came out of prison. The NFL isn’t too far behind.

  11. dave - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    Even though his behavior was boorish, with the TV special and all, there is no doubt that the high level of outrage is based on race. Look at the overreactions to Tiger Woods situation, and the constant screaming since Obama was elected President. The noise levels would have been much lower if these three were white.

  12. Jim - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    What a friggin’ idiot this guy is! Lebron…you need to take responsibility for the douchebag that you are! I hope that you are booed mercifully in every city in which you play this season. By the way Lebron…race card? The NBA is mostly an African American league with a multi-cultural fan base. Another reason that noone should buy your jersey or any of your wares!

  13. Jargon - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Hey Lebron, just shut the F*** Up and play basketball. Racial Bias, Really?!!!
    What a maroon!

  14. Jim - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    What a friggin’ idiot this guy is! Lebron…you need to take responsibility for the douchebag that you are! I hope that you are booed mercifully in every city in which you play this season. By the way Lebron…race card? The NBA is mostly an African American league with a multi-cultural fan base. Another reason that noone should buy your jersey or any of your wares!

  15. pb - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    James is a total douche bag. You can’t compare this with reaction to Obama or Tiger as some guys posted. Two things made me lose total respect for this guy – giving up in the last two games of the Conference Finals and the total attention seeking display in the F****ing decision. I am not from Cleveland and I am still appalled by this guy.

  16. Lebron is an AH - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    Wow, desperate and playing the race card! I have always known that James was a major load, but I really underestimated the magnitude of his loadness. No Lebron, you are not an AH because of any physical characteristic you possess, you are just a plain run of the mill AH, regardless of skin shade. Those who can’t handle life and cry racism to account for their pathetic loser lives are the lowest form of life; and James is a LOSER

  17. Michael Richards - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    Leave to the ego-centric BLACK Player to assume that anything that does nto go as he thinks it should – RACE is an issue. To be honest, I am TIRED of ALL BLACK PEOPLE who use that statement as “cure-all” for their failures as a himan being!!
    If you can’t stand on your OWN TWO FEET – then get out of the way for the rest of us who are trying to make a living and contribute to society. You ALL FAIL to see the light and take command of your OWN LIVES – DON”T SUCK OFF THE “TIT” OF SOCIETY ANYMMORE.

  18. Rick13 - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:52 AM

    Lebron is right.A white player would have handled it differently and better .

  19. Rick13 - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:54 AM

    Lebron is right.A white player would have handled it differently and better .

  20. Lebron is an AH - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:54 AM

    Wow, desperate and playing the race card! I have always known that James was a major load, but I really underestimated the magnitude of his loadness. No Lebron, you are not an AH because of any physical characteristic you possess, you are just a plain run of the mill AH, regardless of skin shade. Those who can’t handle life and cry racism to account for their pathetic loser lives are the lowest form of life.

  21. Nora - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    Awwwwwwwww, just feel so sorry for this, another overpaid person, who can play with a ball. He now feels neglected and pulls out the tired old “feel sorry for me, race card”. What a douchbag.

  22. Mark - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt of a day when people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. To LeBron James, I say this: It doesn’t matter what color you are, you are a humongous douchebag.

  23. Nora - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:58 AM

    Awwwwwwwww, just feel so sorry for this, another overpaid person, who can play with a ball. He now feels neglected and pulls out the tired old “feel sorry for me, race card”. What a douchbag.

  24. chappa jay - Sep 30, 2010 at 12:58 AM

    Hey Lebron James I am happy that you left Cleveland you were a free agent and you decided to take your talents where it will be more appreciated, I don’t blame you. If lebron was traded and his entire family was dismantled there would not be this huge outcry, so basically the owners should treat players like slaves, if they leave be mad, I don’t think so. I hope from now on the superstars in sports ( NBA,NFL, Soccer and so on), regular jobs, day to day 9-5 people, will start doing the same thing, just get up and leave if they are not happy. Lebron we got your back dog, and remember Carmelo and Chris Paul leave there ass, have a conference call and a decision show like lebron just to piss them off. Lebron remember for every point scorer this season do the leave Cleveland dance LOL; The Cavs will go back to where the belong, at the bottom of the table, without a true black superstar the owner might as well sell, and a matter of fact no black super star will ever play in Cleveland ever!!!!

  25. jay - Sep 30, 2010 at 1:03 AM

    Hey Lebron James I am happy that you left Cleveland you were a free agent and you decided to take your talents where it will be more appreciated, I don’t blame you. If lebron was traded and his entire family was dismantled there would not be this huge outcry, so basically the owners should treat players like slaves, if they leave be mad, I don’t think so. I hope from now on the superstars in sports ( NBA,NFL, Soccer and so on), regular jobs, day to day 9-5 people, will start doing the same thing, just get up and leave if they are not happy. Lebron we got your back dog, and remember Carmelo and Chris Paul leave there ass, have a conference call and a decision show like lebron just to piss them off. Lebron remember for every point scorer this season do the leave Cleveland dance LOL; The Cavs will go back to where the belong, at the bottom of the table, without a true black superstar the owner might as well sell, and a matter of fact no black super star will ever play in Cleveland ever!!!!

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