Last night, millions looked on as the Cleveland Cavaliers prepared to battle the Boston Celtics in the opening game of the NBA season.
In light of recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice by NFL players and some coaches, many were curious to see if the superstar athletes would make any political statements before the game. While all of the players obeyed the NBA’s strict rules on standing for the national anthem, the Cavs’ captain, LeBron James, found another way to stand up for equality.
He literally stood in it.
Tuesday night, the six-time NBA champion donned a custom pair of his signature Nike sneaker emblazoned with the word “equality” in gold across the heel.
James’ fashion choice was not a huge surprise given the outspoken attitude the player has adopted over the past few months and years.
Last month, James famously called President Donald Trump “a bum” on twitter after Trump dis-invited the Warriors team to the traditional White House visit for NBA champions.
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
When the tweet sparked backlash, James posted another video addressing his frustration over what he perceived as Trump’s attempt to divide the nation by attacking athletes who call attention to issues of racial inequality.
“That’s just something I can’t stand for,” he said. “Me being in the position I am, I had to voice this to y’all.”
James also made it clear that his activism for equality won’t be constrained to social media statements. Speaking at the Cavaliers’ media day in September, James committed himself to fighting inequality and division across the country however he can:
"I will in my voice, I will in my passion, I will in my money, I will in my resources to my youth and my inner city and outside my inner city to let these kids know that there is hope, there is greater walks of life, and not one individual, no matter if it's the president of the United States...can stop your dreams from becoming a reality."
Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and reducing inequalities everywhere is goal No. 10. To take action in ensuring children around the world have access to equal education, click here.
With a devastating injury to Celtics debutee Gordon Hayward, the return of former Cavalier Kyrie Irving to the Quicken Loans Arena in Celtics green, and a nailbiter of a finish, there were plenty of storylines to follow during the opening game of the NBA season.
But for those dedicated to achieving equality across the US and abroad, the donning of politically charged apparel marks the beginning of what will hopefully be a season-long tale of athletes using their platforms to advocate for marginalized people.