I thoroughly enjoyed Part 2 of the #ShutUpAndDribble documentary produced by LeBron James & Maverick Carter and narrated by Jemele Hill. It was great to see The Honorable Minister @LouisFarrakhan and the historic 1995 Million Man March included in tonight’s episode. That clip from The Minister’s MMM address was perfect.
The horrific and unprovoked murders of two unarmed Black men by white policemen—both captured on video—has reignited a Black community, which demands change. The advent of the iPhone has now given us ample and undeniable proof that Herod’s slaughter of Black infant boys (Matthew 2:16) is being systematically carried out by America’s police.
Blacks across class divides can now readily see that there is no escaping the obvious: there is a race war in full operation and we are losing it. Despite that ominous assessment it is heartening to see the many high-profile athletes speaking up with conviction. Jabari Parker, Damian Lillard, Anthony Brown, Sam Dekker, Garrett Temple, J.R. Giddens—all tweeted their displeasure. Our Brothers Lebron, Chris, Carmelo, and Dwayne stood together at the ESPN awards show and made this profound statement:
[L]et’s use this moment as a call to action to all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence and, most importantly, go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better.
In the midst of this powerful political activism by our NBA giants, the National Basketball Association’s white leadership is on a different page altogether. The decision by the NBA to snatch the 2017 All-Star Game from North Carolina to protest its controversial LGBT bathroom law is an entirely arrogant move that ignores the urgency of the life-and-death issues raised by its own players. That one game alone was expected to give a $100 million dollar jolt to the city’s economy, and—more important—it provided the best forum for the NBA players to raise the issue of Black bloodshed and police brutality and to make their agenda heard. That is no small matter. By comparison, the highest-profile protester of the North Carolina law was the rock star Bruce Springsteen, whose canceled Greensboro show was expected to gross just $2 million.
The NBA used its formidable economic muscle to deal a significant body blow to North Carolina, but whose muscles is it flexing? And for whose benefit?
Of the 70 NBA team owners and reps who made that $100 million decision, there was but one Black man in the room—Michael Jordan. And the game was snatched from the city of Charlotte, the home of the only Black-owned team in a league where 80% of the players are Black. And of the 26 NBA All-Stars voted by the fans, 25 are Black. Further, not a single All-Star Game ticket will be bought or sold to watch ANY of the 70 owners do any “owning.” Incredibly, basketball fans are expected to pay near $2,200 for a single seat to the NBA All-Star practice session on that weekend. For this price fans will be watching Black men performing a uniquely Black athletic skill—a skill they acquired in Black neighborhood pick-up games long before they ever wore an NBA uniform.
The world’s farewell to Muhammad Ali is filled with well-deserved honor and respect. It’s hard to believe that decades ago when he took his historic humanitarian position against the Vietnam War he was one of the most hated men on Planet Earth. Now he is recognized as the G.O.A.T. To borrow the words of Fidel Castro; “history has absolved him.”
As I think over the standing ovation he has received in death versus the thunderstorm of hate he had to endure as a young Activist/Athlete I can’t help but wonder how much of it is sincere. As beloved as Ali has become, the truth is the sports world never wants to see his outspoken brand of Black activist/athlete again. Then I began asking close friends and family to help me identify one Black Activist/Athlete in today’s modern era. A few names were thrown out there here and there, but in the end we could not come up with one. Not one!!! Is Ali the last of a dying breed of athlete willing to take a stand for freedom, justice and equality? Where are today’s Black activist athletes?
Muhammad Ali was truly special. He was gifted athletically and through his study of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s teachings he became a mental giant. What many miss is the depth of his courage and conviction. Black athletes are conditioned to be good ambassadors for the sport, but groomed to never weigh in political or social issues. Those that tried were “tarred and feathered” then stripped of everything. I call it the “Ball and Chain.” If you want to make millions playing with this ball you have to accept the chains that come along with it.
Ali was warned by sports councils, executives, managers and other athletes that if he persisted in his expression of his views toward White America and her war he would lose it all. In June 1967 a cadre of top Black athletes including Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul Jabbar met in Cleveland for what is now called the Muhammad Ali Summit. The objective was to convince Ali to rethink his position on the draft refusal and try to change his mind. Instead of them changing his mind, he changed theirs. They ended up supporting of Ali. This was a pivotal moment for all Black athletes who historically had been considered “well-payed pieces of meat.”
Ali stood on his convictions even in the face of being convicted. He lost everything in the process; yet eventually won his case against the U.S. government. This is why he is lauded as “the greatest.” It has very little to do with what he did in the boxing ring. He is called the greatest because he stood for what he believed and was ready to lose everything, including his life, in the process.
The late rapper Notorious B.I.G. once rapped about liking his women “brainless.” I’m sure he was joking. However, it’s clear that’s how team owners, sports management and others like their athletes. To them it’s no joke. A vetting process has been put in place for Black athletes that weed out the outspoken, Muhammad Ali-minded men before they get started. You cannot be truly activist-minded and exist in today’s professional world of sports. If you are conscious you are not permitted to be vocal about it. The talented Black athlete is groomed from middle school to keep his mouth shut when it comes to racism, police brutality and politics and focus on making touchdowns, three-pointers and record-breaking relay performances. By the time they make it to the pros they are already conditioned to sacrifice their bodies without ever speaking their minds when it comes to the real world around them. Ali set the bar extremely high. Are the athletes of today even bothering to reach for it.
Some of today’s athletes have millions of dollars more than Ali had in his heyday as a heavyweight champion. Some of them have great business acumen and great minds surrounding them. They have millions of followers on social media so they are not as beholden to mainstream media as Black athletes in the sixties. Some are so well-off that if they never played another game of ball they and their families would be fine. But what today’s athlete doesn’t possess is “defiant conviction” in the face of the suffering of humanity. I can’t help but think of how Dwight Howard dared to tweet #FreePalestine and was forced to apologize and delete it from his social media page. How would Muhammad Ali have responded if he were Howard? Again, the goal is to never allow another voice as strong, influential and change-oriented as Muhammad Ali’s into professional sports ever again. He is the last of a dying breed. Or is he?
Black athletes must take a page from the life of Muhammad Ali. He was not content with money, fame, prestige and celebrity. He knew that there was more to life than just screaming fans and big paychecks. Many of you want to speak out about social issues, but you allow fear to strangle you and choke the life out of you. You permit your handlers keep you as far away from “the struggle” of your people as possible to keep you in the dark even though you possess a light from God within. Sadly, the NFL and the NBA does not just require of you your body, it requires of you your very soul. Muhammad Ali did not subscribe to fear. Neither should you. May the death of Muhammad Ali spark life into the athletes of today causing them to be a part of the movement toward equality.
There must be a series of private summits like that of the Cleveland Summit. Imagine if Lebron James, Cam Newton, Floyd Mayweather, Stephen Curry, Marshawn Lynch (an outspoken brother) and other influential athletes came together with grass roots community activists and devised a plan to use their influence for long-term social change. What could be accomplished if Black athletes got rid of their fear and stood against police brutality the next time a Black woman was pulverized by a law enforcement officer? Many of them probably wanted to say what was in their hearts when Sandra Bland was killed, but felt they couldn’t. That, my people, is sad. For God has not given us the spirit of fear. So if the spirit of fear exists in our strong gladiators, who put it there?
In my many conversations about this topic, most people concluded that there will never be an outspoken athlete like Muhammad Ali again. I tend to disagree. One thing that can be said about Black people is that no matter what we suffer, we never stop producing greatness. If we can produce one outspoken warrior, we can produce another. He may not float like butterfly or sting like a bee, but he’ll stand up for what’s right when the time comes. Long live the champ. May he inspire a new crop of athletes who answer to God; not their owners.
(Deric Muhammad is an accomplished Houston-based Activist/Organizer who addresses issues on Social Justice, Black Male Development, Police Brutality, Racial Inequality and other critical topics. He is the author of the book, “A.S.A.P. – A Street Activist’s Perspective”. To stay connected, you may follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Visit his official website: www.dericmuhammad.com)
This news does not surprise me. In his book, “How to Eat to Live”, Book Two, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad writes:
The pig is a mass of worms. Each mouthful you eat is not a nutritious food but a mass of small worms the naked eye cannot detect. Worms thrive in the hog. When these worms are digested into your system, they cause a high birth rate to hundreds of new worms called larvae which travels the blood stream of your system and lodge in your muscles. These worms even enter your brain, lungs or your spinal fluid. They cause muscular aches, fever and many other symptoms of sickness. The worm has an amazing ability to go undetected in your system for many years.
The scientific name for the ill-causing worm found in all pork is Trichinella spiralis which causes trichinosis.
Despite what veterinarians, public health officials, the Agricultural Department or your doctor say, the best defense against the pig is DO NOT EAT IT! When you do eat it, you do not hurt God, His Messenger, the Muslim or anyone else. You hurt yourself. Thorough and slow cooking of pork does not remove the danger of the worms found in all pork. Additional cooking of pork purchased in the summer or processed pork products does not make the worm-infested pork safe for eating.
According to TheScore.com, NBA star Lebron James has reportedly given up pork.
As he now sits on the wrong side of 30, with over 46,000 regular-season and playoff minutes under his belt, LeBron James has had to make some sacrifices to keep his body in peak operating condition.
One of those involves cutting pork out of his diet, something James says he’s done for the past seven years, to noticeably beneficial results.
“Oh, you can tell the difference,” James told Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com. “It’s in how I recover, the energy I have. It has helped a lot with my performance. Overall, I’ve just been feeling good.”
Originally published 7.17.09
On July 16, 2009, President Barack Obama addressed the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the NAACP. One very power quote he stated was:
“They might think they’ve got a pretty good jump shot or a pretty good flow, but our kids can’t all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne,” he said. “I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them aspiring to be president of the United States.”
What do you think about this statement and his entire speech to the NAACP?