LeBron James and close personal friend/Founder of LRMR Innovative Marketing & Branding Maverick Carter sat down with CNN's Soledad O'Brien to discuss his move from Cleveland to Miami
(scroll down 3/4 of the page to find the LeBron text, or just CTRL + F and find LeBron). It's not any kind of in-depth, really, just a quick package on LeBron as he heads in to training camp. However, there will be one part of the interview that will be the talk of sports media tomorrow. It is as follows:
O'BRIEN (on camera): Do you think there's a role that race plays in this.
JAMES: I think so at times. It's always, you know, a race factor.
CARTER: It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure.
I'll start out by saying this; I don't think he's necessarily wrong. There is something to be said for the fact that race drips and drops into everything that happens. However, I think the way LeBron is going to be portrayed thanks to this quote is someone who is playing the "race card," looking for an out from his critics, instead of someone who's engaging in an honest and open discussion on what he thinks and including a controversial topic as a portion of what makes up the entire pie of anger. Generally people who speak honestly and openly get crushed like a bug.
It's also important to point this out; if he's sitting right there, why is Maverick Carter not trying to instantly spin/backtrack/downplay that for LeBron? I know he's his friend, but as an advisor, your job is to create a safety net for LeBron, agreeing but downplaying what was said, allowing LeBron to agree with you, and making the two look a lot better. Personally, I'd just prefer athletes and public figures to just say what they like and have the public accept it and discuss it instead of acting like fools, but that's not the way it works. And because that's not the way it works, people like Maverick Carter have a job. If people just accepted things, there'd be no need for image control or advisors.
If LeBron and the Heat were hoping for a nice, quiet training camp, this was not what needed to be said. Eglin Air Force Base provides some protection from the outside, but eventually the team will leave and the hounds will be there howling. There's no need to start throwing red meat before you face them.