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Our Fame Addiction Legitimizes Cardi B And Makes LeBron James The Next Donald Trump

LeBron James is positioning himself for a presidential bid in 2028. 

I’m serious.  The NBA star’s voter registration drive and social justice activism aren’t symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome. They’re the inevitable manifestation of ambition, opportunity, privilege and ego, the same formula that catapulted Donald Trump from the set of a reality TV show to the Oval Office.

LeBron James looks at President Trump and wonders, “Why not me?” Kanye West had the same epiphany.

It’s ironic. The mainstream media propagandize the belief that the negative impact of “systemic racism” is at an all-time high while more black men and women hatch plans for the White House than ever before.

Democrat vice president nominee Kamala Harris transitioned from Indian-American to African-American to enhance her political career. It’s an iteration of white-raised President Barack Kaepernick Obama de-emphasizing his half-white heritage in favor of his blackness. 

Netflix should launch a show, “Half White is the New All Black.”

I digress. LeBron James for president crossed my mind Monday after watching Cardi B, the stripper-turned-#WAP rapper, interview presidential candidate Joe Biden for Elle Magazine. The interview crystalized for me where we are when it comes to presidential politics.

Fame, no matter how it’s acquired, is the most important qualification to win the presidency. That’s the Trump-inspired realization that provoked Kanye West to launch his candidacy. That’s the Obama-inspired realization that caused Trump to run for the highest office. And that’s the realization that will bait LeBron into the 2028 campaign.

Fame is America’s number one product, our greatest resource and most addictive and dangerous drug. We have forsaken substance for fame. Fame is cocaine. The smartphone and social media apps are the crack pipe and crack rock of cocaine. Fame is now cheap and accessible. There’s a fame trap house in every Facebook neighborhood. You can buy fame on every Twitter and Instagram corner.

In America, fame fig-leafs all sin. A few years ago, Cardi B stripped, sold sex and drugged and robbed her clients. Last week, she dropped a pornographic song and video celebrating Wet Ass P—y and explained in a profanity-laced street interview how women could avoid Dry Ass P—y. On Monday she interviewed Joe Biden. 

CNN, without a hint of sarcasm, published a story about the interview that portrayed it as important outreach to black voters by Biden. Cardi B, real name Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar, is a Jamaican and Trinidadian mix.  In her thick Spanish accent, she told Biden:

“I feel like black people, we’re not asking for sympathy, we’re not asking for charity — we are just asking for equality.”

Another Netflix show idea, “Spanish is the New All Black.”

I digress again. 

Joe Biden isn’t famous enough to be president. At age 77, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s not mentally or physically strong enough to execute a traditional presidential campaign. He can’t risk engaging with the public or the media. He stopped by Cardi B’s trap house for a hit of fame. He limited his vice presidential search to women who could qualify as “New Black” to increase the novelty and fame of his candidacy.

Biden’s a fame whore, no different from Trump, Kanye, LeBron and everyone else. 

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Our addiction to fame respects no political affiliation. President Trump BFF Kim Kardashian rose to social media fame with a sex tape. Let me be clear. I don’t see Cardi B’s and the sins of the Kardashians any differently from Jay Z’s. Cardi B’s rise to respectability mirrors the path blazed by Obama BFF Jay Z and other male rappers who brag and bragged about selling drugs, robbery, murder and hedonistic sex.

Fame deodorizes immorality, incompetence and blind ambition. 

There are few Americans more famous than LeBron James.  Trump and James are birds of a feather. Trump was born into the privilege of wealth. James was born into the privilege of once-in-a-lifetime athleticism. Athletic privilege takes flight later than wealth privilege, but they spoil and delude with similar force.

By age 12, James might as well have been born on third base or sliding into home plate. Had LeBron James failed, he would be Michael Beasley, a journeyman NBA player who earned $40 million during his career. Like Trump, James believes his rise to fame and fortune is some sort of miracle that testifies to his intellect, determination and discipline. They can’t see the silver spoon.

What they can see are the endless opportunities produced by their enormous fame. Their ambition and ego goad them to be more than a real estate tycoon and more than an athlete. 

LeBron James will run for president. And he’ll probably win.

If you want Jason Whitlock for your TV or radio show or podcast, contact gary@outkick.com.

Written by Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock is a longtime sports writer, TV personality, radio host, podcaster and the newest member of the Outkick family.
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49 Comments

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  1. God help us if Lebron becomes president. I really hope your wrong. Trumps fame certainly helped him ascend to presidency however i would argue that it wasn’t fame alone as to why he won the presidency. Trump was smart enough to see how we were being sold out to the world and he really took over what was started by the tea party movement. Trump was saying the same things in the 80’s as he was in 2016. Trump didn’t start the movement but he did recognize that there was a huge number of people that were not being heard. Trump was not created by the media and so he cannot be taken out by the media. Lebron on the other hand is created by the media and he will be beholden to the media since he can be taken out by the media. So while they both are famous, my argument is that there was/is more to Trump than just fame alone. My guess is that Lebron doesn’t want to be president and is not secure in his own intellectual abilities to become president. God gives us gifts like athletics and intelligence but rarely does God gift someone with both. I can see Oprah running before Lebron. Also I don’t think Lebron will be viewed like MJ is post retirement. The backlash coming will be severe even if you can’t see it right now. Great article but I disagree Lebron will not try to run for president because of his own insecurities.

  2. We sort of forget but fame has played a part in politics since Young hansom JFK got on the TV. Johnson and Ford were VPs Nixon was the last of the old school politicians. Cool guy Carter was soft spoken and won the entire southern church crowd. Then Regan stormed in with his cowboy fame. Bush only won because of Regans endorsement. Then cool guy Clinton playing the sax and smoking weed (but he didn’t inhale) Nobody liked Al Gore his wife Tipper killed his chances of the presidency by creating the PNRC years earlier killing the young vote so Bush got in. Then it was back to cool guy Obama who was gonna put a basketball court at the White House. Now we have Trump who has been famous since the 80s. So its no surprise that fame has taken over elections but what we need to be careful of is fame overshadowing real qualifications. All of these men had degrees and accomplishments in life before the fame elevated them to office. The real scary part is when the fame elevates someone like a Lebron above those basic qualifications. Great article Jason.

  3. Great article from the modern day Langston Hughes meets Hunter S Thompson, BUT I have to slightly disagree. Had Trump been an empty suit president who was nothing more than a gimmick, I’d totally agree with you. But Trump was actually the precise thing America needed in 2016. A guy willing, and more importantly capable of challenging the career politicians and bureaucrats who have dominated our government for as long as we can remember.

    I have several Washington insiders as Clients, and from what they tell me Trump accomplishes more in a day than Obama did in a month in terms of meeting with people and getting things done. One of the first things Obama did upon taking office was removing a picture of Winston Churchill from the White House, one of the first things Trump did, put that picture back up. That’s why Trump gets the working class of America, and NO one on the left even comes close.

    • Excellent points.

      I agree with Jason’s overall premise about fame; but Trump is no mouth breathing moron like Lebron. Trump may be rough around the edges, but he is a savvy businessman who loves America. Lebron is an entitled, uneducated slave to social media who couldn’t point out the Middle East on a map, much less negotiate a peace deal between Israel and the UAE.

      Lebron would be laughed off of any debate stage he walked onto, and that would be after he had to be told he shouldn’t wear a pair of pearl white “Beats By Dre“ headphones on his head on the dais.

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  4. I was struck by the mention of where LBJ ends up if he “fails” in his NBA career. The reality of an average American’s life is so foreign to most athletes the same way it is to a trust fund kid. The money and fame bestowed on so many athletes, entertainers or trust fund babies who are just not qualified to assume the responsibility that comes with it.

  5. I don’t think LeBron wins. First thing that he has to overcome – he’s dumb. Trump isn’t. You can bust this guy all you want (not you Jason) but his message of America first, second and first again is a winning argument. LeBron – America blows, cops need special training and whatever else he is told to say will fall flat. I do like the idea of the article Jason and there is definite merit but as I said previously gobs of white people tried the “we’re not racist and we will show you by electing the O twice” have been burned. O was average and didn’t really at the end of the day seem to like America. Kamala will pay for the sins of Obama. I will be shocked if Biden wins but if he does at least Covid 19 will be over. Thanks CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC and CNN for ruining everything for everyone. You’re special people doing great work and hopefully you rot in hell.

  6. You mean the same guy who is all in with China and the Marxist org BLM and constantly sounds anti American yes we notice those things. I have seen his child like antics on the sidelines when a team mate doesn’t do something right throws them right under the bus whining and complaining what a leader. And Cardi B LOL you cannot be serious quoating Johnny Mc come on man.

  7. Jason, great column, it is amazing how obsessed we as a country are with fame. It is equally amazing how deluded we are. Your line about media propagandizing “systemic racism” jumps out at me. The only thing “systemic” is the way in which media manipulates stories and data (or in the case of NBA and Popovich, flat out lies). And it’s true, given our obsession with fame, these spoiled millionaire athletes have more opportunities than ever. They have more opportunity than many politicians. If NBA athletes really wanted to change things for poor communities, they could easily do it. Instead, they care only about gestures and their own brand, and they promote narratives which stir racial animus. They are more interested in postgame interviews and social media posts than they are in the actual games (games which might be rigged anyway, by a new generation of refs like Tim Donaghy). Going back to yesterday’s column, I do not have anger towards NBA players, but at same time, I have absolutely no respect for those fame whores (they are completely delusional, part of a cult, like you said yesterday). The NBA and Lebron are fueling the flames which are destroying our country. Given our obsession with fame, we are letting it happen. It’s sad.

  8. No way. Fame is necessary but not sufficient to become President. Why would America vote for an America hating athlete? Trump is at heart a promoter and he’s been promoting the USA all the way, up to and including wrapping himself in the American flag!

  9. Great Column Once Again.

    I wish Jason would take Trump more seriously. Comparing what he did to get elected to LBJ is fair, but not how the two arrived at this point in time. And in history.

    LeBron has never lost Anything that cost him anything. No downturn in his fame or fortune. He has never ever lost and had to rebuild anything that matters. Conning friends to join him on basketball teams, that pay him is not building.

    Trump inherited the same start has Howard Hughes. Hughes took that start in life and turned onto something lasting. He started with a slow jog and sprinted for miles.

    Hughes had great failures and rose up from them. He (and Trump) nearly lost everything several times.

    LBJ lost games. Missed shots. Left entire fan bases. And his ‘talking’ is the most racist crap I’ve ever heard and athlete spew.

    I was playing basketball before LBJ was born. I never saw an athlete behave like him.

    Trump is fighting for a whole lot more than the average person even understands. He personally gains Nothing from being POTUS except for Doing The Right Thing.

    In 4 years, Trump gets to leave the White House with only his dignity and his family. A nearly 80 year old man he will be.

    And he gets to look at his family on his death bed some day and say, ‘I did it and you can do it.’

    He gets no more fame or fortune. All LBJ is … is fame and fortune. LBJ is Cardi B.

  10. Jason I love your columns and agree with you most of the time .But this time your wrong about this one fame helped Trump. The reason Trump was Elected was has America first stance .Hundred of thousands of illegals that can read and right English .Cheap labor for republican and votes for the Dems. How dose thousand of poor people that have little to no skills help black inner cities or the town in the rust belt. A lot of Republicans what to fight war for ever. Lindsey Graham an others .Many Republican what to do business whit China. Trump is hate by many in Washington Dems and Rep
    But right about Harris she not black

  11. I wonder how much of an athlete’s beliefs stem from the vitriol they receive on social media? God only knows how many times these players receive death threats or get called a dumb n—-r because they missed a big shot, gaffed somehow, trolling, etc. Then they have to deal with the traditional media painting them in a bad light.

    These players read their mentions. Negativity bias is an incredible challenge for them. I mean, there are reply threads to athlete tweets that will give me a short term loathing of millennials and society in general. Imagine what kind of message they receive in private.

    • Joshua, that’s a great point. A single drunk racist with 20 different fake social media accounts could fire off a bunch vitriolic messages. And the athletes might think it represents a larger percentage of people than it really does. In truth, from what I have seen, sports fans as a group are among the least racist types of people there are. It is sad, to me at least, that media like CNN, MSNBC, etc, try to portray us as an overall racist country. I mean, racism exists, no question, but we have to work together as a country to fight it. And the vast, vast majority of us are not racist.

  12. I don’t think I’d be on board with most of not all of his policies, but after becoming more involved in following politics the last few months I think his mental acumen would be right in line with most of the people currently holding house and Senate seats. I was honestly taken back by how less these politicians focus on legislation and more on the lowest denominator to simply demonize the other side. Politics is a team sport. He’ll fit in fine.

    • Exactly! LeBron has zero business acumen. Guy couldn’t handle a 100-level econ class. He has “business partners” that do it for him while he signs the checks. I cringe when I hear someone call an athlete or entertainer a smart “businessman.”

  13. While I agree with the concept of the article, I don’t agree with the conclusion.

    LeBron James, perhaps more than any other athlete in the world today, has become the face of what a rapidly growing number of Americans absolutely despise about professional athletes, and about professional sports in general.

    Most people didn’t hate Trump until he won the Republican nomination. LeBron already has a head start on him in that regard, and has already built a large group of people who can’t stand him because he has made it abundantly clear that he can’t stand us.

  14. Jason you’re killing me. You’re way off in James/Trump comparison. I am a Reagan disciple throughout my history teaching career, but I must admit Trump leads all presidents in my life time in doing what he said he would (my first vote ’76). Ever hear about ISIS Caliphate anymore? Israel embassy, UAE Peace, terror leaders eliminated, no more Iran deal, out of Paris Climate Deal, rebuilding U.S. military, and USMCA are some foreign promises kept. Domestically, the U.S. economy was best ever before virus (it will come back), highest personal savings and lowest credit card debt in decades show it’s ready to explode. The border wall is progressing, energy independence, prison sentencing reform , and V.A . reform are all promises kept. I found it refreshing that a non -politician ran and won. Fame and name recognition is fine but you have to know what the hell you’re talking about. I found Trump comparison to James insulting! I think a”thoughtful” ex-athlete is great (lib.Bill Bradley,con. J.C.Watts for instance). You forgot that Trump has a “record”, King James “has no clothes”.

  15. Good article, unlike others I cannot say if I fully agree/disagree yet. Lot of thought provoking words to unpack. Well done. You gotta meet up with Dennis Prager on an Ultimate Issues Hour or Happiness Hour Jason, that’s be in the top five radio hours of the year. Still think you guys should consider buying SALM radio.

  16. Lebron James has a lot of money, fame, and knows nothing extensive about domestic policy (finance, administration, economics) and foreign policy (but does have extensive knowledge of China’s desire for basketball), and could win the Democratic nomination easily.

    Man, America had a great run.

  17. Jason, thinking back to various other columns you have written, and drawing largely from “systemic evolution > systemic racism” and the “Jesus, Journalism….” columns in particular, I arrive at the following:
    Q: Is it easy to convince millions of uninformed and below “average” intelligence human beings to see the error of their ways? (and, of course, approximately half the population of any country will have intelligence below the “average” intelligence of that country)

    A: No it is not.

    Q: What then, would genius leaders do to create equality in the face of evil inequality?

    A: Create a system which plants seeds of justice, allows righteousness to flourish, and which slowly strangles the evil within human nature. (in other words, create the United States constitution and system of government)

    And Jason, as you have previously referenced, our great country has been a leading light in so many areas, abolishing slavery among them. It is sad and scary that “fame” and social media have allowed us to enter into a political scene where Lebron James is a thought leader.

    Today I read on twitter that Stan Van Gundy is again trashing the founding fathers (not surprising, since Gundy is part of the Marxist NBA)

    Stan Van Gundy and Malcom Jenkins (who has previously trashed the founding fathers), do you know why it is so hard to create meaningful change? It is precisely because of the “VanGundys” and “Malcom Jenkinses” of the world, who are filled with hate, manipulation, lies, and selfishness, that change is so hard. That is why the founding fathers couldn’t snap their fingers and instantly eliminate all evil…….We, as a country, have come so far, but to hear Van Gundy, Jenkins, and the NBA as a whole speak, it is as if they want to forget that heroes like MLK and John Lewis ever existed. The NBA is dishonoring the memories of MLK and John Lewis by claiming that the millions upon millions of dollars they earn has nothing to do with progress.

  18. For the second day in a row I have to disagree with Jason. LBJ has a passionate following among NBA fans & his a** kissers in the sports media, beyond that he is not a popular athlete or celebrity. For 60 to 65 percent of the population his anti-American socialistic views will be seen as radical…as they should be!

  19. Systemic evolution is a two way street…can be a big positive, or can be complete destruction of the social order. Sure, the marxists have a plan, and sure the socialists want you to believe their way forward is best…but they’re trying to recruit younger people to be their black shirts, and to be their voting block for the next two generations.
    When people become twisted because of their early life experiences…growing up without proper attention and positive reinforcement, early school experiences with bullies and just plain nasty, mean children, then teen years unattended and left to feel all alone in a world that is cruel, and topped off with (or without) a college experience that reinforces the nihilistic view that the world is bad, people are bad…nothing matters.
    Well that recipe, when baked into a young child, results in what we’re seeing in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, NYC, Philly, Baltimore, and coming soon to a town near you.
    The Left has sown the seeds and we’re all reaping the whirlwind. The radical left planned this all so well, starting with early education, but they’ve lost control…if they ever had control.
    I sure don’t have any answers, and no matter what happens on November 3rd, the destruction is going to continue, because the destructors have been given free reign, and they believe the world itself has no redeeming value…life itself is meaningless. Their acts of tearing down civilization is just an affirmation of their beliefs. Society is allowing itself to be torn apart, and that proves the point, to themselves. Nothing is worth saving…including themselves, and certainly not the people who hide behind the locked doors and shuttered windows in small town America.
    LeBron isn’t capable of understanding what he’s doing…he is woefully uninformed…but celebrity is all that ever mattered to him…that and a nice high fence to keep the world outside.

  20. Jason — Two weeks ago.I dubbed you worthy of a Nobel prize. You’re a national treasure. But this column is a big miss. You’re right about LeBron — wrong about Trump. Trump’s monetary policies, tax reform, foreign policy, and immigration policies have ALL been great for the country. As for LeBron, he can play basketball — that’s the only thing he’s good at.

    • Wrong!
      JW simply is NOT a political activist. He is neutral and sees hypocrisy from both sides. Like him – I don’t vote. I see no reason to believe in human solutions. God’s Kingdom is the only way out of this mess.

  21. Since the Democratic Party is currently under the stewardship of Bane and the Joker, it wouldn’t surprise me if they went with LeBron as their candidate in the future. As Whitlock says, he would be a useful idiot. If I were the DNC, I would convince The Rock to run as the democratic candidate. He is much more down the middle and less polarizing.

    Remember a few years ago when the Spokane chapter of the NAACP had a 100% white female president but identified as black? That was an abomination at the time. Now, it seems to be normalized to just switch up your identity as needed.

  22. I have to agree that Trump and James are similar in that they are egoistic and crave attention and approval. They are also similar in that their success did require effort. Trump for his part was born to wealth, but that in and of itself was no guarantee of success. Note that his older brother was born to the same privilege and died of alcoholism in his early forties. One could say something along the same lines for James. How many young athletes succumb to alcohol or drugs. However, that is where the similarities end.

    Trump was born to wealth, but made his name working with ordinary men and women on jobsites. The reason he connects so well with blue collar voters is that he spent a career interacting with them when he didn’t have to. James on the other hand went in the other direction. I don’t blame him for it, but he has used his wealth and fame to separate himself from ordinary voters.

    It is not just fame that got Donald Trump into the Oval Office. He demonstrates a connection to voters that they appreciate. He is one of them. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton rode a similar phenomenon into office. James may be famous, but he lacks any connection to people beyond his fame, which is why he will fail in any run for the Presidency.

  23. Well thought out post Whitlock — it was an interesting read for sure. My thoughts are that LBJ and Trump are more similar right now than they would be if LBJ ran for POTUS. They are both polarizing figures, you love them or you hate them, there’s really no in-between. You also cannot deny their talents — LBJ is great at basketball, Trump is a very successful business man. In this regard they are more similar now as prominent figures in our culture. Where they differ, is that LBJ would not be able to take the criticism, hate, and bashing in a political campaign, he’s too much of a pussy to take on something outside of his comfort zone, unlike Trump, who love or hate, will go after what he wants, whatever it takes.

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