Here are 2 positive takeaways from the “LeBron Lyrics saga.”
Please consider the following:
Having spent most of my life deeply involved in the basketball world, I have long witnessed the commonality, brotherhood and love between the African American and the Jewish communities. Both are people of faith and creativity, with deep spirituality, and both have overcome unthinkable tragedy and persecution.
I can recount so many times in which my African American teammates, friends and other athletes have gone above and beyond to help me physically and spiritually. That is why I understand what leading sports commentators are talking about when they explain that these lyrics that LeBron posted are actually a statement of admiration for the Jewish community by the African American community.
I have witnessed the mutual love firsthand and have dedicated much of my post-playing career to bringing these two communities closer together. This latest saga is a chance to further unite two very special communities that by teaming up can contribute so much to the world and to each other.
This modern day saga which began on social media reminds me of a history lesson that is all too easily forgotten. For thousands of years mass killings and oppression have occurred and when traced all the way back to their root, these tragedies began with tiny seeds of hatred – stereotypes, prejudices, shaming. On their own, these statements may seem relatively innocuous, but when combined they can warp out of control into the most unimaginable horrors.
This lyrics saga is the perfect reminder for me of the power of speech. Are we using words to perpetuate (false) stereotypes, prejudices and jokes about the other? Even if the statement is intended with ho narm, it nevertheless plants those tiny seeds that enable ugliness to flourish down the road.
I appreciate and respect that LeBron apologized for his post, and think that this ordeal can bring about positive change. The rampant shaming, bullying and putting people down on social media and in the real world is damaging and even deadly. This saga is a timely reminder that we should all do everything we can to use words that unquestionably show respect for eachother and that plant seeds of love.
Wishing everyone blessings and peace. Shabbat Shalom.
Basketball In Jerusalem