By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor
Most Black folks could probably relate to having to adjust to being around White folks regularly.
NBA superstar LeBron admitted to it during his new HBO show, “The Shop,” a “spirited, free-flowing discussions” talk show that features LeBron and a group of his celebrity athletes buddies.
James said during the show that it took a few adjustments to get comfortable being around White people when he first began attending St. Mary Catholic High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He said initially didn’t want to talk to any White people when he first transitioned from his neighborhood public school to the Catholic school he would eventually be drafted into the league from.
“When I first went to the 9th grade in high school, I was on some ‘I’m not f**king with white people. That was my initial thought of White America’” James said. “I was so institutionalized growing up in the ‘hood it was like, ‘They don’t f**k with us, they don’t want us to succeed.’”
James went on to elaborate where his hesitation to embrace White folks came from.
“‘[The’yre] (White people) the hierarchy and then we’re (Black people) here. We’re underneath this chair,’ so I’m like ‘I’m going to this school to play ball and that’s it,’” James said. “So I was like ‘I don’t want nothing to do with White people… it’s me and my boys going to this high school together and we’re here to hoop.’”
Maverick Carter, one of James’ best friends, former HS teammates and current business partner, chimed in and said it didn’t matter, though, because they ended up making friends with several White kids at the school.
“Sports and basketball, it’s the most unifying thing. By the end of the year, all of us were best friends,” Carter said. “Our Black friends from the hood were coming [to games]. His White friends were coming, and we were all having a good time.”
LeBron also used his HBO show to touch on how he felt Black star pro athletes have a harder time than White star athletes. James detailed a hypothetical scenario of a Black athlete out with his family reacting to media or fans intruding on privacy. He believes, even if a White athlete reacts the same way facing the same situation, people would criticize the Black athlete while excusing the White athlete because of the double standards of race in the U.S.
“If it’s (Tom) Brady, if it’s (Aaron) Rodgers, if it’s (Peyton) Manning. And we’re doing the same sh*t, the same exact sh*t. I’m talking about a phone is out. We’re like, ‘Yo, get that f**king phone out of my face. I’m with my family,” James said. “If we’re out with our family and we say that sh*t and somebody posts it, and if Aaron Rodgers or one of those guys say that sh*t and they post it, somebody’s going to be like, ‘Hey, you guys should respect Aaron Rodgers.’”
This article originally appeared in The Afro.