Barack Obama reveals what he told LeBron James and Chris Paul to help save NBA season

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

During the 2020 NBA Playoffs, the entire season was left in the balance after players decided to boycott games amidst the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

During the boycott, league leaders such as the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul spoke with former president Barack Obama.

During a recent appearance on James’ HBO show “The Shop,” Obama broke down what he told James and Paul to encourage them to use their influence as NBA stars to promote positive change.

“Protest is useful in terms of raising awareness, but given the power that the NBA players had, my suggestion was that we use that platform to see if you can start asking for some specifics,” he said. “This isn’t something that’s just a one-off. That’s sadly what we’ve seen, as it happens again and again.

“So, one of the suggestions I had for the players was: Is it possible for you guys to set up an office that allows you, on an ongoing basis, to take best practices that are going to start making incidents like [the Blake shooting] less likely?”

He added that change would not come quickly, but would instead require persistence and dedication.

“I told them, it’s not going to be solved overnight,” he said. “This is something that we got to stay on. We got to keep on moving. So the fact that LeBron then has also been working with More Than a Vote, working with my outstanding partner and the most popular Obama, Michelle Obama, in getting people registered, getting them educated, understanding the connection between voting and reform so that you combine protest and going to the polls, I think that’s the best outcome possible.”

Obama is a hero to many within the NBA’s ranks and beyond. There is no doubt that his words of wisdom played a major role in helping James, Paul and the rest of the NBA establish a real plan going forward.

Surely, James, Paul and many others are hoping that plan has an impact in the next presidential election on Nov. 3.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.