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Matt Barnes Challenges, Criticizes Michael Jordan’s Social Activism

Former NBA baller Matt Barnes was one of many African-Americans who thought that Michael Jordan should have responded more extensively, angrily and decisively to Donald Trumps degrading comments about LeBron James.

Former NBA baller Matt Barnes was one of many African-Americans who thought that Michael Jordan should have responded more extensively, angrily and decisively to Donald Trumps degrading comments about LeBron James

First Things First on Twitter

LeBron James is the sterling example of the American Dream. It’s unimpeachably great what LeBron is doing in the Akron community. It’s just disappointing, man.” @getnickwright on President Trump’s tweet to LeBron https://t.co/69FBoODV4U

Especially after Trump attempted to do what he does best, divide the Black community by using MJ as a tool in denouncing LeBron during a time when James should be getting praised by the President for the new school he’s opened in Akron.  

In fact, Trump’s been rather successful in pitting people of color against each other. Now he dragged Mike into a conversation that had nothing to do with him in the first place, thus compelling folks to criticize Jordan’s social activism portfolio and laud LeBron’s. To some who fell for the bait, Jordan fans responded by listing his extensive history of donating to social causes in retaliation.   


Allwftopic on Twitter

He’s not alone, Jordan has always been tepid on social issues, folks shouldn’t expect him to change now…. dude couldn’t even properly say his name, just gave Lebron some initials. https://t.co/ZcoSRt9TKC


Barnes is another voice in a growing legion of African-Americans who are unhappy with Jordan’s passive, vague and diplomatic response and his lukewarm appetite for visible social activism. 

Trump is the perfect example of how a man shouldn’t act! Maybe it’s the little dick syndrome After he ended his insecure rant about Lebron yesterday by finishing w “I like Mike” I really feel like for once MJ should step up & say something for all of us who’ve supported this man & bought his expensive ass shoes for all these years! #ILikeLebron -Just my thoughts

31k Likes, 3,505 Comments – @matt_barnes9 on Instagram: “Trump is the perfect example of how a man shouldn’t act! Maybe it’s the little dick syndrome …”

Jordan responded with a statement in support of James. Via a spokesperson, Jordan said, I support LJ. Hes doing an amazing job for his community.


Trump’s wife Melania then attempted to clean up the disrespect and lack of decorum by praising James. 

CBS News on Twitter

Melania Trump praises LeBron James after her husband bashes NBA star https://t.co/ZdoTMfzDTd


However, Barnes believes that Jordan should be more vocal concerning these kinds of issues. MJ has been criticized in the past for selling sneakers while discarding social activism. Its become a big momentum-shifter and a wild card used by LeBron supporters in the ongoing “GOAT” debate between LeBron and MJ.  

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As the age of activism continues to bring a controversial, difficult and often divisive dynamic to the sports landscape, the most powerful, influential and wealthy athlete in America refuses to ruffle any financial feathers by speaking out too loudly on issues of police brutality and racial injustice. 

If enough athletes take him to task like Barnes has done, maybe Jordan will be compelled to be more vocal with how he truly feels about this country, its leaders and the government’s attacks on our African-American heroes. 

Or perhaps he’s cool to make an impact in the way that he prefers, regardless of what others who fall for Trump’s nonsense may say.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The Deputy Editor and Senior Writer is in his 23rd year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, magazines and national TV.

His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.