Hello Mr. James, and while we do not know each other, I know of you and your well-deserved reputation as a person and basketball player. I appreciate how you manage those two roles in the arena of public life.
This week Jared Kushner said: “The NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially. They have that luxury, which is great. Look, with the NBA, I think there is a lot of activism and they’ve put a lot of slogans out, but what I think we need is to turn that from slogans and signals into actual action that’s going to solve the problem.” He also said that he would reach out to you on Thursday.
Mr. James, I do not know if Kushner reached out to you, but if he did not, I encourage you to reach out to him and do as James Baldwin did in May 1963 for the wealthy born Robert Kennedy. At Kennedy’s request, Baldwin gathered some people together (Lorraine Hansberry was one) to help Kennedy understand the struggle Blacks faced in America. According to all present, the meeting was not a huge success. Yet it happened, and we all know how Kennedy did change eventually.
By his words quoted above, Mr. Kushner shows that he has no understanding of where you and so many other NBA players have come from, where you are now, and the stress you and your families live under each day. What you all are doing is not a luxury, but a hard-earned right and duty to protest. What you all are doing is more than slogans and empty action. But Mr. Kushner does not feel or understand this. He is one more person in the way of the battle to end the systemic racism our country faces.
Mr. James, I suggest you gather some players/coaches such as Chris Webber and Doc Rivers. Then meet with Mr. Kushner in Akron, Detroit, Chicago, and other cities to show him where you began. Then talk with him about your journeys. Do not shout but show him the Black of your lives and what that color has required of you. Teach him, Mr. James as Mr. Baldwin taught Mr. Kennedy. He may grasp the truth and change, but that will be his choice.