Tuesday, June 9, 2015

6.9.15 Bee-otch of the Day: LeBron James

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on Chuck69.com.



Name: LeBron James
Age: 30
Occupation: basketball player
Last Seen: Cleveland, OH
Bee-otched For: not stepping into our own shoes

I'll admit, I have a love/hate relationship with LeBron James.

I love the guy because, well, he's the best basketball player around. A man who grew up in poverty who played excellent b-ball in high school and drafted outright to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yes, there's the hate factor, especially when he moved to Miami and made a big ballyhoo about it, but he had a change of heart, came home and Cleveland all loves him again.

But as much as the world loves LeBron, let's remember something: he's rich.

Granted, I'm happy that he escaped the world of living from apartment to apartment and being fatherless, but let's remember something: he makes money from the shit Nike produces with his name on it, i.e. that hideous $200 pile of shit that I've posted above.

When I think of LeBron, I think about the fact that when he graduated from high school, Nike signed him to a $90 million deal to hawk their shoes. IIRC, the first pair of LeBron sneakers were sold in a gold briefcase.

Of course, LeBron has sold a shit ton of kicks for Nike, but the tragedy is the fact that Nike has virtually no American employees and all of their shoes are made in sweatshops in China,Vietnam and Pakistan where workers make peanuts. And yet, their CEO and founder, Phil Knight is worth $23 billion, LeBron is worth $270 million and many Americans who want LeBron's shoes simply can't afford them.

When I was a kid in the early 90s, I wanted Reebok Pumps. You know, the shoes that had a pump on the tongue that made them snug? Well, as a kid, my mother dragged me to Kmart to buy me shoes. However, that came to a stop because I had told her that a high school kid on my bus picked on me because of my no-name-brand shoes. So, we went to Cherryland Mall in Traverse City (now Cherryland Center, an outdoor shopping center) where we did my back-to-school shopping. Mom and I were walking towards Foot Locker when she told me "what do you think you're doing?" Kinney Shoes - aka Foot Locker's red-headed brother - was across the hall and mother forced me to pick out some more-modest shoes for a much-more modest price. I remembered picking up some shoes that were "neat", or in my language, shitty and worthy of me being bullied. 

But you know what? I survived. The reason why kids are pressured to buy Reebok Pumps and Air Jordans in my day and LeBrons today is simple: Nike and Phil Knight only care about money. It reminds me of the Michael Moore film "The Big One" when he paid a visit to Knight and asked him why there's no Nike factories in America. Knight responded "people in America don't want to make shoes". So, Mike went to his hometown of Flint where he was raising awareness of building a plant there. A TV station did a news story on Mike's push and people responded positively to wanting a plant in town. Well, Mike showed the video footage to Knight in his office. His response? Simple: he walked away.

Shoe companies like Nike simply want to tell people that if you don't own their shoes, you suck and you don't belong in the human race. Yet, they do this because Phil Knight and LeBron James are filthy rich while the downtrodden parents who already have a hard time deciding between paying bills and feeding their kids feel bad because they can't afford what their kids want.

This is why I own a pair of New Balance shoes. They're an American company and even though some of their shoes are made in some of the same countries Nike has factories, they do have factories here in the good 'ol U.S. of A. Plus, they're comfy and don't cost as much as a LeBron shoe that looks like bloody diarrhea.

Thanks, but I'd rather help stimulate the economy over helping LeBron and Phil Knight pump up their bank accounts.

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