After the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, many people called for LeBron James to sit out games as a sign of protest. As the star of the Cleveland Cavaliers, one who grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio, a gesture like that stood to send a powerful message. He didn’t though, and played on with his team—who, in not being LeBron James, were free from activists’ urgings.
However, James has been far from silent over the past few years. He and the 2011–12 Heat posed in hoodies to support Trayvon Martin’s family and wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts as a tribute to Eric Garner. James has also emphasized education. Last August, his foundation teamed up with the University of Akron and JPMorgan Chase in a program that awarded its students four-year scholarships to the university. James said he wanted to use his platform to help others, and he’s no hypocrite.