“Shut Up and Dribble.”
That’s what Fox News host Laura Ingraham told LeBron James in February, part of a racially charged rant in which she claimed the NBA superstar wasn’t “educated” enough to engage with politics. Now, James is turning the insult into a sharp retort.
Shut Up and Dribble will be the title of a three-part Showtime miniseries that offers an “inside look at the changing role of athletes in our fraught cultural and political environment, through the lens of the NBA.” James is on board as executive producer.
The series is set to air this October.
Showtime’s press release explicitly calls out the fact that the title comes from Ingraham’s comment. The controversy ignited after players from the Golden State Warriors, winners of the 2018 NBA finals, refused an invitation to Donald Trump’s White House.Â
Ingraham targeted James, then a Cleveland Cavaliers player, for his critical comments about Trump, words she declared to be unintelligible. “Millions elected Trump to be their coach,” Ingraham said at the time. “So keep the political commentary to yourself, or as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
A brief synopsis from Showtime lays out how the controversy factors in, as well as a rough timeline of the path director Gotham Chopra will tread.
The controversy serves as a prologue to the series as it chronicles the modern history of the NBA and its players, starting with the 1976 merger of the freewheeling ABA and the more conventional NBA of today. The league soon became an incubator for many of its top athletes to grow their brands beyond the court, becoming powerful players in commerce and fashion, and transcending the game to become cultural icons.Â Shut Up and Dribble charts this evolution through the experience of basketball players, who by taking control of their own destinies have helped to bring about social change and make their own statements in the current political climate.Â
News of the Showtime series is particularly timely after James’s light criticism of Trump last week in a CNN interview earned him (as well as interviewer Don Lemon) a racially charged presidential retort over the weekend.
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isnât easy to do. I like Mike!
â Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
The tweet was quickly condemned, or at least heavily shaded, in most corners of the internet. A lineup of public figures and social media personalities quickly stepped up to point out that Trump’s attack overlooked the fact that James sat down for an interview to discuss his humanitarian work.
Even First Lady Melania Trump had positive things to say about James’s work in the wake of her husband’s tweet.
Come October, James, Chopra, and the rest of the team assembled for Shut Up and Dribble will show Ingraham, Donald, and the rest of the world the important role that athletes can play in bringing about change.