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LeBron James on Detained WNBA Star: I'd Consider Just Staying in Russia

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Remember when the debate raged regarding who was the greatest of all time—LeBron James or Michael Jordan? Jordan is the GOAT, especially since James' tenure with the Lakers has devolved into chaos. He's undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time, but he also does something Jordan eschewed—which is talk politics. The man has shot himself in the foot on more than one occasion, but commenting on the Brittney Griner fiasco took an odd turn. Mr. James said that if he were Griner, he'd choose to be detained in Russia rather than return to the United States. James made these remarks on an episode of HBO's The Shop: Uninterrupted, which airs on July 15.


Griner is the WNBA star who has been under the custody of Russian police since February. She got caught with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. She pleaded guilty to the charges and could face a decade in a Russian prison. That sounds like hell on Earth.  

James was also critical of the Biden administration for dragging their feet in securing her release. That's justified. The Biden team has fumbled this simple task of getting Griner out of Russia. Contraband vape cartridges are not espionage or state secrets. Donald Trump got one of Lavar Ball's sons out of trouble in China when the latter was involved in an alleged shoplifting incident. Still, to say staying as guests of the Kremlin instead of coming home is just nonsensical (via Sports Illustrated):

WNBA star Brittney Griner remains detained in Russia after nearly five months in custody. In the latest trailer for HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, LeBron James spoke his mind on the situation and criticized America’s efforts to bring her home.

“Now, how can she feel like America has her back?” James asked. “I would be feeling like, ‘Do I even wanna go back to America?’”


There are multiple avenues LeBron could have taken here. With regards to the US not having Griner's back, he could have mentioned how the Biden administration screwed up a phone call between the basketball player and her wife because no one was at the front desk of the embassy to connect the call. To make matters worse, it was on the day of their anniversary—and they knew this call was coming. Griner's wife has torched the Biden White House for their response to this situation. They have promised to get Griner out as soon as possible. What are they waiting for; she got detained last winter. Yet, the road James takes is 'America is awful, so I [Griner] should stay in Moscow.' I don't think she wants to stay in Russia, James. I don't think you believe that either, even after all the incompetence exhibited by Biden and his crew.

And yes, the Griner crisis shows that this administration has no urgency in getting our people out when they're black. Is that harsh? Is that 'woke?' Who knows? But for a party that is all about helping people of color—this is an embarrassing circus. 


UPDATE: LeBron backtracked his remarks.

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