Ever since ESPN has brought Kendrick Perkins on board as an NBA analyst, he has been on a roll of getting on national television or Twitter and just saying anything. Today, that continued as he sent out a tweet further showcasing that he has a clear agenda for Lebron James. For me, it has gotten to the point that I no longer take him seriously when it comes to his basketball opinions, but I have thoughts about this particular tweet that he sent out today.
I think it goes without saying that off the court, Lebron James is a stand-up guy. Great father, great husband and has made a huge impact in the community. No one is taking that away from what Lebron has done, but to say that he is the greatest athlete off the court ever is a bit of a stretch.
If Perk had said that he was ONE of the greatest athletes off the court, that would have been fine because he is and he will continue to be until the day he retires. The issue with this tweet is him saying that there is no debate, when in fact there is. He is celebrating Lebron and disregarding all of the impactful athletes that came before him, which is all the way wrong.
Muhammad Ali is one example of an athlete that really paved the way for Lebron James to be able to speak out against social issues and be able to take a stand against injustices. Ali was willing to give up his world title and years of his boxing career, along with risking prison because of his refusal to go to the Vietnam War after being drafted.
Jackie Robinson is another example. He broke the color barrier that not only changed baseball, which had been a segregated sport for close to 50 years, but it changed sports forever. He not only changed sports, but changed the course of history and politics.
Other notabe athletes are Bill Russell, Warrick Dunn and David Robinson..the list goes on and on when it comes to athletes making changes in the community outside of sports.
When it is all said and done, we will look back at Lebron’s off the court efforts and we will talk about how he paved the way for future athletes to continue to be more than just an athlete. However, we cannot just disrespect the athletes that came before him and crawled so that he could walk.
Another thing, why does everything have to be a debate? Why does everything have to be a comparison? Debating who the greatest player of all time is, that is perfectly fine, but to make a competition out of who the best off the court/ off the field athlete is just a bad look and disappointing.
Here is an example of Perk following up his original tweet with more tweets that were comparing charitable efforts:
Twitter users had a field day in his mentions after he tweeted this and I enjoyed the history lessons that people gave him in response.
At the end of the day, I could not care any less about the opinions of Kendrick Perkins. His opinion is his own, he is entitled to it and if that is really how he feels, then so be it. However, he really needs to understand that not everything needs to be compared, especially when this is the topic of discussion. Appreciate what the previous athletes and their impact outside of sports, while also appreciating Lebron for continuing that legacy.
In this particular instance, you cannot say that there is a greatest athlete off the court. Every big athlete that has made their impact in the community outside of sports over the years just needs to be appreciated, not have their good deeds stacked up against each other.