03 Jun 2021 LeBron James and L.A. Lakers Help Sell Confederate Merchandise
“Hypocrite” Basketball Star Wears Logo of Retailer Marketing Confederate Flags and Robert E. Lee Lunch Bags
Washington, D.C. – Despite cultivating the reputation of a social justice warrior, basketball star LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates have hit the court with the logo of online retailer Wish on their uniforms since 2017. Members of the Project 21 black leadership network criticized James, the Lakers and the NBA for political inconsistency for their relationship of a retailer that sells products honoring the Confederacy.
“I wish LeBron wasn’t a hypocrite, but I guess it’s part of being on the woke left,” said Project 21 member Richard Holt. “But let’s be even more honest here. The NBA, LeBron and all the other social justice warriors are ultimately in it for the money. I don’t think they really care about you and me if there’s a dollar to be made. So they can keep promoting state’s rights through Wish sales all they want – maybe when the South rises again they can make money on the Robert E. Lee baseball hats.”
“We Wish LeBron Was Consistent,” a page on Project 21’s website, features images of only a few of the many Confederate and Southern pride items that can be obtained through Wish, an e-commerce platform designed to make it easier for third-party sellers to reach customers. This includes a wide array of Confederate-themed items including Confederate flag pillows, blankets, kids’ military uniforms, portraits of Confederate generals and even anti-COVID face masks featuring the rebel flag. James and the Lakers wear the Wish logo on their uniforms – uniforms that the NBA promotes through the league’s own online store as “a call to action, a command for greatness.”
“Wish can sell these things if it wants to, but why have LeBron and the Lakers lent their reputation to help them sell it?” the webpage asks. “Why has the NBA allowed this to happen after claiming to be all-in on social justice?”
The team’s partnership with Wish, and its pride in these uniforms, is particularly perplexing given its loud activism supporting “woke” causes.
“Prior to the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers signed a three-season deal with Wish. Lakers Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris called Wish ‘a company that shares our commitment to giving back to the community.’ Of course, when that community is the Lakers, and it is getting $12-14 million every season for the label rights, I guess it overlooked some of the products sold by Wish that should be decried by the team’s star player,” said Project 21 member Martin Baker. “Amidst all of the controversy over the Confederate flag, will James now call out his employers – who just extended his contract through 2023 – over the products that their sponsor sells? Or is he happy just cashing his own checks? Hypocrisy, thy name is the average professional athlete.”
Project 21 suggests people ask James, Lakers management and NBA officials why they did not properly check Wish sellers’ inventories – and continue monitoring them – before entering into this controversial relationship. A Twitter tool has been put on Project 21’s webpage to facilitate outreach and discussion.
“Let’s face it, LeBron is a publicity hog. We all can figure LeBron hasn’t done any due diligence into the practices of Wish and probably never will,” said Project 21 member Donna Jackson. “LeBron likes to position himself as a social justice warrior, but his primary wishes are really to stay in the news cycle and to generate profits – for him and his sponsors. Since his activism has almost single-handedly tanked NBA ratings over the past two years, I’m sure this wish won’t become a reality.”
To schedule an interview with a member of Project 21 on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 477-7476.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.
Founded in 1982, the National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from some 60,000 individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. Sign up for email updates here.
Follow Project 21 on Twitter at @Project21News for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by Project 21 members, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.