The Book of James: The Power, Politics, and Passion of LeBron
The unique social, cultural, and political life of the incomparable LeBron James
LeBron James is the hero in two very American tales: one, a success story the nation loves; the other, the latest installment in an ongoing chronicle of American antiblackness. He’s the poor boy from a “broken” home who makes good. He’s also the poor Black boy from a “broken” home who makes good, then at the apex of his career finds “n*****” spray-painted across the gate to his home.
James has lived in the public eye ever since high school when his extraordinary athletic skills subjected his every action, every statement, every fashion choice to intense public scrutiny that tells us less about James himself and more about a nation still wrestling with many social inequities. He uses his celebrity not to transcend Blackness, but to give it a place of cultural prominence, and the backlash he receives exposes the frictions between Blackness and a country not fully comfortable with its presence. As a result, James’s story is a revelatory narrative of how much Blackness is loved, hated, misunderstood, and just plain cool in an America that has changed and yet not changed at all.
Valerie Babb is Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Emory University. She holds a joint appointment in the departments of African American Studies and English.
Publication Date: 11/28/2023 - 12:00am
On Sale: 11/28/2023 - 12:00am