Home U.S LeBron James found his voice on social issues following Trayvon Martin's shooting...

LeBron James found his voice on social issues following Trayvon Martin's shooting death

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LeBron James was 27 years old when Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager who was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed on Feb. 26, 2012 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.

James thought about it – 10 years earlier he could’ve been Martin, who was 17 years old. James also considered his two sons, who in 10 years from that point could be in Martin’s shoes – teens wearing hoodies walking through the neighborhood.

The moment resonated with the NBA superstar.

Martin’s death impacted him in another way, too. It helped James find, refine and then define his voice on social and racial issues.

“From that point on, I knew that my voice and my platform had to be used for more than just sports,” James told CNN in 2018.

Shortly after Martin’s death, James and his Miami teammates posted on Twitter a photo of themselves wearing hoodies, heads bowed in support of Martin.

Consider the time: Early in the life of Twitter, which was taking off as a platform, and before viral posts were commonplace.

LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates wore hoodies in solidarity with the Trayvon Martin family following the unarmed teenager's death in 2012.

It was a major moment, introducing an era of NBA player activism that is more 1960s than 1990s and 2000s. It continues today.

James realized how he could use social media to communicate directly not just to his “followers” but to his community. It was empowering, and it emboldened him. It was a seminal point in the way James used his voice.

James got it. He discovered more than an opportunity. He had a responsibility to use his voice which has since grown larger, more powerful and more influential.



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