Going into his 20th NBA season, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is one of the only players that is not afraid to speak out on controversial topics off the court, even against his own league.
The NBA received a lot of criticism on Wednesday after it announced that Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver would be suspended for one year and fined $10 million after the conclusion of a year-long investigation.
Evidence was found that Sarver displayed racism and misogyny in the workplace during his 17 years as owner of the Suns. The behavior, which Sarver originally denied before now accepting responsibility, was completely inappropriate and would of resulted in almost anyone else being fired.
Because Sarver owns the team though, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said a suspension was the most he can do.
While James does not play for the Suns, he did not hesitate to comment on what he feels was a light penalty for Sarver by Silver and the NBA:
Read through the Sarver stories a few times now. I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t need to explain why. Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of — LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2022
behavior. I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this aint it. — LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2022
Now that James has spoken out, it would not be surprising to see other NBA players start doing the same.
When Donald Sterling was found guilty of similar accusations, he was forced to sell the L.A. Clippers. The difference is there was video proof of his behavior though, so he would not have been able to fight it in court the way Sarver would. The NBA would clearly like to avoid that, so they came down light on Sarver, who gets to keep his team after a one-year hiatus in 2022-23.
Buss wants LeBron to retire as member of Lakers
Even though LeBron is entering his 20th season, his game remains as strong as ever as he nearly missed winning the NBA’s scoring title in 2021-22 despite the Lakers missing the playoffs.
James signed an extension to remain with the Lakers through at least the end of 2023-24, and Jeanie Buss recently said that she hopes LeBron retires as a member of the organization.
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