The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, (1929 – 1968)
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
‘A revolution is bloody. Revolution is hostile. Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way.’
The measure of a man is not what society thinks of him but what his actions teach him that he is. As we forge our own destinies and take our own measures, we cannot afford to face hardships or seek out the meaning of life without by degrees becoming whatever we expect to find. To build a Pyramid, the kind of structure that lasts for a life time, you need a strong foundation upon which to assemble all the other peripheral things. To build a man, you also need a solid foundation upon which to add all the other little things that set the real men apart from those that are loosely seen as just male.
Over the past 3-5 years the measure of the African athlete as a man had been questioned through the media, often with the media outlets themselves leading the cross burning charge. If you doubt me go back just one year to every sports outlet, like ESPN, dead spin, Yahoo sports and any random local/national paper to find an over whelming number of Caucasian with a few Stepin Fetchits thrown in, who have harshly and out of context, criticised African athletes above and beyond what they would do with Caucasians for any minor or major social or personal transgressions.
The image of the three basketball players do have a lot in common with Tommie smith and John Carlos and with the warriors that stood up in support of Muhammad Ali as the corporation called the USA, tried to induct him into their killing machine and send him over to South East Asia. Don’t get it twisted though, while these three, will never be confused with what is today loosely termed the summit of sports stars, wherein Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes, Walter Beach, Bobby Mitchell, Sid Williams, Curtis McClinton, Willie Davis, Jim Shorter, and John Wooten used their position of celebrity, in a show of supportive solidarity for fellow athlete Muhammad Ali in his defiance of the military industrial complex. Ali’s defiance and defense against America Inc’s invasion of Vietnam was morally grounded in religion but supported a position above and beyond religion which is basic to fundamental human rights.
Back then the summit had a distinctive flavor, influenced by the time period and the consciousness that was evident then but rarely exhibited today… at least that we can tell by media demagoguery. Today’s athletes have significantly more media exposure, are tremendously more affluent, but would never such a strong position!
As Jim Brown said after the news conference:
That was a situation that had to be addressed. I was the president of the Black Economic Union; John Wooten was my executive director. I called John from London and told him to contact all of the top black athletes from around the country and have them meet Ali in Cleveland so we could discuss his situation with the draft. They all showed up and we had about a three-hour meeting with him [Ali] in the back room of my office in Cleveland. [We] realized that he was very sincere in his position and that because of his religion, he was not going to go into the Army and we backed him. … It was a very wonderful thing to have these young players not worry about risking their careers, but getting the right information from the horse’s mouth so that they could make judgment on this man’s action.
Lebron, Chris and Dwayne’s influenced lay solely in visual impact of young African MEN, deciding to control their lives, their bodies and ultimately their bottom line ( as far as doing it with an agent). And due to this ultimate decision, have been vilified endless and shamelessly by the sheeples who fork over their children’s college funds to compensate billionaire owners-bastard children of PT. Barnum- in putting on a series of horse and pony show with highly paid millionaire athletes. They have been shamelessly and jealously derided by other athletes who suffer from the crab in the barrel mentality and thus give the green light to ESPN and other outlets to question everything about these three men’s character, integrity and even their sexuality. As an aside it is quite instructive that while Shaquille O’Neil famously describes Chris Bosh as the Rupaul of big men, nobody seemed to have questioned the fact that Shaq was himself showing the world his underwear.