MSNBC host Joy Reid recently compared NBA star LeBron James to a true American icon, saying James is “today’s equivalent of Muhammad Ali.”
Reid made this statement in light of the basketball superstar’s social justice activism.
Reid took to Twitter to lionize the billionaire basketball player and put him on par with Ali, a man who truly fought for civil rights.
But to make her tweet even more absurd, she added a clip of fictional superhero Black Panther to it, apparently sending the signal that James is a superhero.
The MSNBC host tweeted on Saturday, “I’ll say it again. LeBron James is today’s Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Glad he has that platform.”
“Keep speaking, @KingJames,” Reid added.
Reid’s defense of James comes in the wake of comments from soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is a forward for A.C. Milan soccer team.
Ibrahimovic said James should stick to basketball and leave the politics for another time.
Over the last few years, James has become more of a leftist activist than in the past.
James endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, Joe Biden for the same office in 2020, and now United States Democratic Senator from Georgia, Raphael Warnock.
But despite what Reid thinks, Ali took real risks for what he believed.
Whatever one thinks of James’ politics, Ali opposed the Vietnam War and resisted the draft, which put the boxing legend at risk of going to jail.
He refused entry into the U.S. Army in 1967, enraging many Americans.
But he also brought the force of the United States Government down on himself. Ali sentenced to five years in prison, and fined $10,000. (Thankfully, he never went to prison.)
Ali was spied on in his time by the National Security Agency and FBI.
He was stripped of his boxing title in his prime, and wouldn’t box for another three years until he was finally given a license in 1970.
Doing this was an unpopular at the time, as was his outspoken promotion of civil rights. But Ali felt so strong about his convictions he was willing to risk it all – his title, his career, his freedom – everything.
Agree or disagree with James, he is not risking his career with his activism. He’s a billionaire who is promoted by giant multinational corporations; Nike, Pepsi, Walmart, Kia, and many more.
And Ali didn’t use safe Democrat talking points. He was extremely provocative, and brave:
One key difference between Ali and James – Ali did not make his sport of choice political. All of his activism took place outside the ring, not in it.
One can believe what they like about Muhammad Ali and LeBron James’ political views, but they did it very differently at different times in U.S. history.
Whether Joy Reid agrees or not.
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