Nike's progressivism has reared its ugly head again with a new LeBron James television commercial calling for an end to humble beginnings. USA Today is raving about it is as an incredible and entertaining ad. On the other hand, Fox Sports 1 Speak For Yourself host Jason Whitlock says it's a destructive "Marxist utopian" message that discounts the importance of the nuclear family.
USA Today's Charles Curtis's description of the ad goes: "As kids watch his highlights through the years, it’s James who watches a story about his Akron 'I Promise School,' on his phone, as he asks, 'You know what would be really special? If there were no more humble beginnings.'” Is this the "War on Poverty" 2.0?
Whitlock, at left in the photo above, says the ad lines right up with a recent New York Times editorial "stating that resources determine the success of black kids, more than family structures. It's one of the dumbest, most evil things I've ever read in an American newspaper. LeBron's new Nike commercial is the New York Times editorial brought to television."
Nike is promoting itself and LeBron James "as brands that want to save America with Marxist, utopian ideology," Whitlock warns. "No more humble beginnings. Who could criticize that goal? Well, anyone with an elementary understanding of society. Humble beginnings is a relative phrase." Furthermore, Whitlock says:
"LeBron and Nike released a commercial that mocks the American dream. LeBron says there's supposed to be stories of determination that capture the American dream. They don't? Michael Oher's story says nothing about America? Allen Iverson's story says nothing? Deshaun Watson's?"
If you give everyone in America a million dollars, all you would do is redefine American humble beginnings. You wouldn't eliminate them, Whitlock continues:
"Marxism and its running mate, communism, sell the false premise that you can equalize everyone's starting point and therefore equalize opportunity for success. This has never been accomplished anywhere on the planet in the history of mankind. But that won't stop useful idiots from agreeing to promote the concept in marketing campaigns and newspaper editorials, especially if their business interests are tied to communist China. ..."
James has business interests in that communist nation, and he drew condemnation from the Left and the Right two months ago for criticizing Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for speaking out against China's oppression of freedom seekers in Hong Kong.
Whitlock had more ammunition to dispense against the Nike/James commercial:
"Who can be against humble beginnings? People smart enough not to chase their tails. People smart enough to realize it's a gimmick that keeps the poor poor and focused on a solution they can't control. LeBron needs to tell Nike to put him in multiple commercials promoting the nuclear American family, if that's what LeBron truly believes in. That's what dramatically improves the life prospects of kids, and that's the story we're all tired of hearing about black athletes. He didn't know his dad until he was 19. No more black athletes without two committed parents: let's make that the goal. If we start there, humble beginnings matter a whole lot less. Because of my two parents, you couldn't pay me to change my humble beginnings."
The hard-hitting commentary of Whitlock, whose father built a home and a business "in the hood," drew support from all three co-panelists.
Marcellus Wiley believes the commercial is contradictory and highlights the environment instead of focusing on the individual. James' intentions are good but his message is displaced.
Ric Bucher saw the ad as idolatry of James and what he has accomplished as not replicable by the kids watching: "All James accomplished is to glorify everything that he's done."
LaVar Arrington, the former NFL player, said he hates to be the nail in the coffin on the discussion, but the life lessons he learned in his humble beginning led to his career success.