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LeBron James says social justice work in bubble is only the start

The Lakers' Anthony Davis, left, and LeBron James will be in their "Black Mamba" uniforms for Game 5, as they were in Game 2.
The Lakers’ Anthony Davis, left, and LeBron James, shown during Game 2 of the NBA Finals, will be back in their “Black Mamba” uniforms for Game 5.
(Associated Press)

LeBron James and his NBA brethren felt empowered to use their voices and platforms about social injustice and police brutality during the time spent in the NBA bubble, and it is the sincere hope of the Lakers forward they continue to speak out once the season is over.

The Lakers have a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals over the Miami Heat and a win Friday night at AdventHealth Arena on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex would give them a 17th NBA championship, tying the Lakers with the Boston Celtics for the most in the league.

Whether the pandemic-delayed season is completed with Game 5 or later, James said “we don’t stop” spreading the message of hope and justice for people of color.

“But I hope that people continue to use their platform, use their individual social media platforms, or if they are doing it that way, if you are an individual that goes into your community and does it that way,” James said Thursday to reporters on a videoconference. “However that you continue to create change for the better of all of us, I think it only makes us all better. It doesn’t matter what race you are. It doesn’t matter what color you are. No matter how tall, whatever the case may be, because we all want to see better days. No matter if you agree or don’t agree with some of the things that are going on, I think we’d all love to see better days and see more love than hate.”

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James will continue to stay involved when he leaves the bubble the Lakers have been in for 92 days.

He launched the More Than A Vote organization in June, a nonprofit group that was developed to fight Black voter suppression and help educate people about voting rights.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel’s “stay in the moment” approach has brought his team to the threshold of an NBA championship.

“I know I’ll do my part, as much as I can do on continuing to create change, continue to educate, continue to enlighten my community and communities all over the word that listen to me and follow me throughout my journey,” James said. “Like I said, you can control what you can control. What you can’t, sometimes as much as it hurts, you just try not to worry about it.”

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‘Mamba’ time

The Lakers have decided to wear their “Black Mamba” uniforms in Game 5 as another way of honoring legend Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers are 4-0 wearing those uniforms this postseason and would like nothing better than to win the title wearing them.

Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash in January.

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Bryant, along with Nike, helped to collaborate on the uniform design.

“It means something. Something more than just a uniform,” James said. “It represents an individual who gave the franchise 20 years of his blood, sweat and tears and his dedication to his craft, both on and off the floor, to make that franchise be proud of him, and hopefully vice versa.”

Etc.

Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager, came in seventh place in the voting for the NBA’s executive of the year with 14 votes, including one first-place vote. Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank won the award.


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