Lebron James lashed back at a female Fox News host who seemed to think that the Cleveland Cavaliers forward’s opinion on social issues doesn’t matter because he’s just a basketball player.
Talking to reporters after the All-Star practice, the 33-year-old said, that despite the advice for him to shut up and play basketball, he will continue to speak up if he sees something wrong or do his part to change the lives of kids.
“Thank you, whatever her name is,” he said.
Her name is Laura Ingharam who rebuked James for dipping his hands into politics by criticizing President Trump. She called the athlete’s opinions as “barely intelligible” and “ungrammatical,” which she chalked up to his decision to leave school early to play in the NBA.
She then said that James should just “shut up and dribble,” because nobody should take political advice from somebody “who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball.”
James said that the reaction from the Fox News host lets him know that he’s saying the right things because he’s pushing the right button.
“But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that,” he added. “I mean too much to society, I mean too much to the youth.”
After the backlash, Ingharam issued a statement defending her views on James. The Fox News host bristled at the accusation that her comments are racial. She said her “shut up and dribble” remark is a play on words on her 2003 book “Shut Up & Sing.” She also told Greg Popovich to just “shut up and coach,” or Robert De Niro to “shut up and act.”
Ingharam also said that pro athletes and entertainers should not be surprised if they are called out for “insulting politicians.” On Feb. 16, she replied to a tweet from Lebron James as she wrote, “Hey King, Come play on my Court next week. You’re invited on the show anytime.”