LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Jayland Walker share a similar experience
LeBron James and Michael Jordan approach basketball and life in radically different ways. Jordan had to be convinced to consistently share the ball with his teammates, while James was criticized for involving his teammates too often in the attack. James is a much taller man and one of the most unique physical specimens in sports history, while Jordan played basketball with the grace of a dazzling performance from Swan Lake.
Jordan hit .202 in AA baseball when he was 30, and James was an All-State football player in high school. James tried to keep his hair all his life, Jordan ditched his in the late 1980s and turned the bald head into a style that many people in the 1990s should never have copied. A 21-year-old Jordan met an ambitious Phil Knight when Nike found its footing as a company, while James – born two months into Jordan’s rookie season – aimed to become a billionaire before his 21st birthday.
People always compare the two, knowing that they play basketball totally differently, and their life is even more so. Jordan was born five months before the March on Washington and grew up in a two-parent home down south with four other siblings. James was born in late 1984 in Akron, Ohio, and it was just him and his mother in a once-industrial Midwest that had become desolate and desperate.
Outside of being big black men who are two of the best basketball players to ever walk the earth and 21st century billionaires, there doesn’t seem to be much in common between the two. However, when James tweeted the day before July 4 “I *pray hands emoji* for my city todayit was a reminder of the commonalities they share with millions of other people on this planet. They are indeed Black and being Black in the wrong place at the wrong time can be dangerous, even deadly.
Additionally, James and Jordan grew up in cities steeped in racism.
On June 27, 2022, Jayland Walker’s life ended in Akron. A car chase with law enforcement led to a foot chase that quickly ended in gunfire. Walker was reportedly shot 60 times as he was pursued by eight officers. Law enforcement said they intended to stop Walker for a routine traffic stop. Officers say Walker failed to stop and also fired a shot through the driver’s side window, and they recovered a gun from his vehicle. They said they shot a masked walker because he allegedly reached his belt.
He was shot and killed seconds after sprinting from the vehicle. An officer allegedly reloaded and continued firing before attempting to resuscitate him. Akron was under curfew from Sunday to Tuesday once the public was able to view parts of the body camera footage from the Walker shooting. The protests continued Wednesday evening. Jacob Blake Sr. – father of Jacob Blake who was paralyzed after being shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, – was stopped as well as Bianca Austin – Breonna Taylor’s aunt who was killed by police in Louisville.
Walker’s murder is not the first questionable action taken by the Akron Police Department. In March 2022, Jamon Pruiett and Latrent Redrick received a $900,000 settlement of town after he was shot and injured by police in October 2017. A fight broke out near a club in downtown Akron, Redrick had a firearm with a conceal and carry permit, and when an officer charged into the scuffle and fired at it, Redrick was hit. His brother, Pruiett, grabbed the gun and fired back unaware that it was an officer who had shot them and also been hit. The officer – John Turnure – was not charged but ultimately resigned in 2021 after body camera footage showed him forcing snow into the mouth of a man accused of domestic violence who has said he couldn’t breathe.
Jordan’s hometown had a Mark Fuhrman moment in 2020. Three officers, James Gilmore, Jesse Moore II and Kevin Piner were fired after they were recorded using violent, bigoted language. According to the reportGilmore criticized the department for its response to the George Floyd protests and spoke of white people “bowing to their knees” and “worshipping black people”.
Piner and Moore were recorded on a phone call discussing the killing of black people. Moore talked about a black woman he arrested. He called her an n-word and said: ‘She needed a head shot right away and move on. Let’s move the body out of the way and continue. Piner said a civil war was coming and he was going to buy a new assault rifle and, “we’re just gonna go out and start fucking n-words at them. I can’t wait. Moore didn’t want to go as far – I guess he only wants to kill the black people he arrests – but Piner went on to say that Civil War would “wipe them off the fucking map”. terrible coming from the police in Wilmington, North Carolina..
The January 6 Committee hearings currently taking place relate to an attempted coup. Wilmington is the site of the only hit in American history. In 1898, Wilmington had the highest proportion of black residents of anyy town in the south. The results of a recent election have upset many white people in the city, who saw it coming. Whereas research a story about Jordan, Wright Thompson discovered that a group called the Red Shirts had purchased so many weapons that stores had to send a message to other states so they could replenish their supply. At least 60 blacks were killed. The mayor, police chief, and all city aldermen were forced to resign, and Wilmington’s Black newspaper was completely burned down. Today, a city that was 60% black is now 18% black, even as the overall population is at its highest ever, over 110,000.
Akron’s racist past is part of what has severely damaged many black communities in America, interstate building. Much like Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and more, the construction of freeways – designed to help most white commuters get in and out of the city faster – has displaced residents, destroyed property values and ruined businesses. . In Akron, however, there is another twist to the story. The construction of the highway, the inner belt, was never finished. It lasted until 1987 and turned out to be a waste of $300 million in a city that was in the middle of its No. 1 source of industry, rubber production, dying. The inner belt, along with three other urban renewal projects near downtown, displaced 3,197 households and forced 100 businesses to close, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal.
It might have something to do with James, in fourth year, missing about 100 days of school and moving maybe six times. And for those who think segregation was a lifetime ago, Brown v. Board of Education passed in 1954, but Wilmington schools didn’t desegregate until 1968. According to Roland Lazenby’s biography of Jordan, the schools Elementary didn’t desegregate until 1971, meaning one of the most famous people to ever walk the earth, and not yet 60, attended segregated schools.
Today, both men appear to have made a living, with Jordan owning an NBA franchise and worth more money than the owner of the team he played for, the Chicago Bulls, and James’ production company, the name of the apartment complex in which he lived during high school, is worth more than $700 million. But for these two astronomical successes, a black man allegedly fired a shot from a car during a police chase, not directed at one of the officers, and was met by a hail of gunfire from eight uniforms mere seconds after fleeing his vehicle. A white man would have kill six people at a suburban parade, or 10 Blacks in a grocery store and spend their days in court.
James and Jordan are billionaires and the two best basketball players to ever wear Nikes or any other shoe. Many similarities end there. They didn’t play at the same time and their games are completely different. They come from different parts of America and their personalities are apples and oranges. What they most have in common, however, is the journey they’ve been forced into hostile territory simply because of the color of their skin.