Basketball

Mainstream Media’s Coverage of LeBron’s “The Shop” Is Why We Need to Control the Narrative

Lately, I have been in a writing stupor: Writer’s block.

All it took was the inevitable and sad idiocy of mainstream media to irk my last nerve, for me to break through.

As a lot of people know, LeBron James and some of his high-profiled athlete friends via the multimedia platform UNINTERRUPTED, premiered the first episode of “The Shop” on HBO. The show’s premise and vision is basically fluid candid talk with friends in a barbershop setting.

I, being someone who has a fond reverence for “the barber shop experience” as a whole, was highly anticipating this television program – even appointment viewing – for folks such as myself. For all of the great things discussed in Episode 1 (the vandalization of Lebron’s Brentwood home, being in the public eye in private situations, Black and White relations growing up, etc.), I just knew that mainstream media would point out the most irrelevant shit and focus on it.

The Shop.

Controversial Fox Sports pundit Jason Whitlock wasn’t the only mainstream media member to totally miss the point … or was he?

Whitlock’s “shtick” has become commonplace in the past decade; so we all know his characteristics by this point. His brand is to become a counterpoint to whatever positives could be going on in (insert Black player)’s life. As a colleague eloquently illustrated, Whitlock is “the anti-Black Black Guy.” That’s his niche. Whether it’s blaming all African-American issues on rap music or blaming athlete protests on the fact that they want to grow their social media brands, Whitlock has been consistent with his media character.

When someone goes on the Tucker Carlson show and utters verbatim:

“The entire national anthem controversy is being driven by social media. These guys are addicted to retweets, likes, and mentions and followers, and so again, so there’s no real substance to what they are doing other than trying to build their social media brand.

“It sounds great when they get ‘oh, we’re trying to raise awareness about police brutality’—they are trying to raise awareness about their social media brand and that is what they are really doing.”

How can you take this person seriously?

His latest rant on Lebron James and the show itself was basically that the show had too much cursing and the guys drank wine in the shop.

You don’t believe me? Here is the clip in all its glory.

Only Whitlock would tell viewers LeBron makes “a complete utter fool of himself.” Only Whitlock would compare LeBron to Donald Trump.

He literally stated on Twitter that he had more respect for Kobe Bryant and the way he handled himself “after Colorado” than Mr. James after uttering some curse words on late-night pay cable television. I’m sure most of these readers know exactly what happened in Colorado.

A friend of mine stated to me earlier today that this is just classic Whitlock and he is correct. He has the uncanny way to utter a weird Afrocentric view that simultaneously seems both ignorant and condescending at the same damn time.

And it works because I wasted my time on this subject because of him.

ESPN wasn’t absolved from totally missing the point as well as The Jump (a show that I actually like, sorely missing Rachel Nichols), totally misinterpreted the comments of Draymond Green about LeBron. Instead of breaking down why Green would state that “LeBron did not become LeBron until four years ago,” all they spoke about was the “relationship” between the two men as if James would include Green on the show if he wasn’t at least a friend/partner. All you heard between Cassidy Hubbarth, Brian Windhorst and Nick Friedell was banter about giving shady compliments and are they really friends or not?

I can pretty much guarantee that all of “us” knew EXACTLY what Draymond meant by what he said so to trivialize it and diminish it to some gossipy trash that has nothing to do with the overall premise undermines what the show wants to eventually accomplish and I am sick of it.

The narrative for our athletes must be protected at all costs.  Ask Colin Kaepernick.

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