The Lede: LeBron James and modern athlete activism


LeBron James and Jim Brown have a city in common. And like Brown in the 1960s, LeBron is politically active. Both are also iconic figures in African-American sports and cultural history. But that’s where the similarities end.

Dave Zirin, sports editor of The Nation and writer of The Edge of Sports, discusses his new book “Jim Brown: Last Man Standing” and how LeBron is finding his own way as keeper of the flame lit by the likes of Brown, Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell.

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OPEN – LeBron James has taken the NBA Playoffs by storm, but he will also be the talk of the summer as he enters free agency. Over the years, he’s become more and more involved in social and political issues. Another Cleveland athlete that paved the way for LeBron James was Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown. But Brown’s views and approach to social and political issues are somewhat different than LeBron’s.

5:15 – Stephen tells us a Jim Brown story from early 2000s when he interviewed the Hall of Famer at his Hollywood Hills mansion.

13:25 – Dave Zirin joins Jeff and Stephen to talk about Jim Brown’s connection to Donald Trump, why Brown decided to support President Trump and the nature of the Hall of Famer’s politics.

16:30 – Jim Brown, the first modern superstar and someone who didn’t want to support the NFL Players Association because he felt that unions would slow the growth of the NFL.

19:20 – How did Jim Brown become the guy he became?

23:40 – Did Jim Brown’s image of African-American manhood hurt his message? Zirin says that Brown didn’t just use his image on the field, but he used his image of African-American manhood when he got into film in Hollywood, when he started a studio with Richard Pryor and when he tried to break up the feud between the Bloods and Crips.

34:10 – What does Jim Brown think of LeBron James and his stance on politics and social justice?

45:05 – Is there a connection between Jim Brown and LeBron James?

Episode 1: LeBron And Modern Athlete Activism
June 05 2018

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