April 25, 2024

Basketball star LeBron James is being slammed online for seemingly ignoring the national anthem.

The Los Angeles Lakers star watched his son, Bronny, play in his first collegiate game following his cardiac arrest in the summer. Bronny collapsed in July at a practice, with the problem later being revealed to be a congenital heart defect.

James is often on the sidelines of his kids’ games. Bronny committed to the University of Southern California last season and James’ middle child, Bryce, plays for Sierra Canyon School, which is Bronny’s alma mater. James also attends his daughter Zhuri’s volleyball games. Now, he’s facing criticism for how he entered the Galen Center on Tuesday to watch Bronny play.

In a video circulating online, James walked into the arena as The Star-Spangled Banner was playing and immediately sat in his chair while failing to remove his hat-which is customary during the national anthem. In the video, he can be seen standing towards the end.

Newsweek reached out to a representative for James for comment via email Wednesday.

The clip was taken by Orange County Register reporter Luca Evans, who posted it on X. It was eventually picked up by internet personality Collin Rugg, who shared it on his account and added: “LeBron James casually walks into the basketball arena while the National Anthem is playing and takes a seat.

“Zero respect for the country that gave him the opportunity to be a basketball star. Zero respect for the country that allowed him to become a billionaire. Zero respect for the men and women who defend our country so he can live his life. Shameful.”

The video was also picked up by X user @EndWokeness, who captioned the video: “LeBron completely ignores the National Anthem and sits down.”

People took to the comment section of this post to express their disappointment in the player.

“Lebron James has ZERO respect for America,” one person wrote.

“I’m almost in disbelief….WTF,” said another.

A third added: “He’s a complete scumbag.”

“What was he thinking?” a fourth person asked.

However, Evans has pushed back on the criticism, explaining that there’s a reason James enters the arena at this time.

“As the reporter who took this video, this is gross and completely mischaracterizes the situation,” he wrote on X.

“LeBron has done this for YEARS in Bronny’s time at Sierra Canyon. It’s objectively the best time to walk in so he doesn’t cause a massive stir. Stop it.”

On Evans’ post, a debate ensued in the comment section, with some not caring that James didn’t stand, while others said he should have entered the arena at a different moment.

“God it’s the anthem who actually cares,” one person wrote.

“I was at the game too. They’re trying to make it seem like he didn’t stand. He stood afterwards and cheered,” said another.

“There are countless other moments to enter the stadium without causing a massive stir. You stop it,” an X user said, disagreeing with Evans’ point.

Another added: “And also, you hear all the murmuring that accompanies his entry. Why not walk in as soon as the anthem is finished? That’s the perfect lull before the game starts when he wouldn’t be interrupting anything.”

Newsweek reached out to Evans for comment via social media Wednesday.

On November 30, James described the “proud moment” of seeing Bronny overcome the adversity of the last few months, even when it wasn’t certain whether he would be able to play basketball again.

“You just put it in God’s hands, man, and just trust it,” James said at the press conference. “That’s it. We prayed as a family. We had great doctors along the way the whole time, telling us that they believed things would work out for us in our favor, and [Bronny] took care of his business.

“He did everything. He didn’t have any setbacks. He didn’t try to rush the process of his rehab. He took every step according to plan, and for him to get that clearance over the last 48 hours was big time for him,” James said.

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This story was originally published December 13, 2023, 5:08 AM.

source: star-telegram

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