By now you’ve probably seen the clip. In an AAU game, an alley-oop gets thrown up and young Bronny James throws down. On the other side of the court, a hyped-up LeBron James is jumping around, celebrating his son’s great play.
To most, this was an innocent expression of fatherly joy. To others, it was a selfish and immature move by an egoistic NBA superstar who always wants all eyes on him.
It’s impossible not to look at these reactions through the lens of race. A famous Black man, being told by mostly white sports commentators that his actions as a father are inappropriate and out of line. Doesn’t sit right… right?
For years the stigma of the absent Black father has plagued the African-American community. But in recent years, we’ve seen a reversal in that stigma. Across the country, dads are stepping up in parenting roles that previous generations ignored.
Some of the best examples of this presence can be seen in the NBA. NBA veterans like LeBron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony have all been seen in the public eye being the great parents that they are. We see these men thriving in the role of fatherhood and taking great pride in being great dads.
We’ve also seen fathers of young NBA stars being extremely present in their son’s NBA careers. The most notable being LaVar Ball, but he isn’t the only one.
At this years NBA draft we saw countless examples of proud fathers standing with their young sons on the biggest days of their lives. We saw sons appreciative of their fathers for the guidance provided and time dedicated to help the dream of getting drafted in the NBA come true.
But why are dads like LaVar Ball and LeBron James critiqued when being noticeably present in their children’s lives?
For years Black men have been chastised for being absent from the lives of their children. Now, when Black men are seen as being overly involved, they receive the same kind of chastising.
Is there maybe some overcorrection happening on the part of someone like LeBron James? Probably. Should we get on his case for striving to be the father figure in the lives of children that he never had growing up? Absolutely not.
White America will take just about any opportunity to take down a prominent figure, they’re a Black American. Even if that means getting mad at a dad who gets excited for his son throwing down a monstrous dunk, or posting videos on Instagram about his family’s taco Tuesdays.
The hate isn’t just coming from white America though. Fox Sports analyst Jason Whitlock even had some words for LeBron. Telling him to “sit yo ass down.”
— Speak (@SpeakOnFS1) July 29, 2019
The argument of LeBron being an egomaniac who takes away from his son’s shine is straight-up nonsensical. Let the man live. And let Black fathers continue to take pride in the achievements of their children’s accomplishments and bask in that glory.
Everyone should appreciate and encourage what LeBron and other prominent Black dads around the NBA are doing. Continue to get hype for your kids; continue to vouch for them in media outlets; continue being examples of the great Black dads that exist all across this country.