LeBron James left off TIME magazine top influencers list


Jerry Humphrey III, theSCORE Co-Editor

Every year, Time Magazine releases its “Time 100”: a list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Time 100 features various people in different professions, most commonly musicians, world leaders and athletes. The 2020 list included rapper Meg thee Stallion, Senator Kamala Harris, tennis star Naiomi Osaka, 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antentkumpo and more.

This year, NBA superstar LeBron James was selected as a finalist but did not make the final list. James has been featured in the Time 100 four times (‘05, ‘13, ‘17, ‘19).

It bothered me at first because I wondered, “Why are stars like Patrick Mahomes, Alyson Felix and Dwayne Wade chosen over him?”

Was it because he refused to wear the social messages on his Jersey during the NBA Bubble?

“Everything that I do has a purpose, has a meaning,” James said in an interview when asked about the jerseys. “I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and what I’m here to do.”

During this chaotic year and intense NBA playoffs, the Lakers star has refused to stay quiet when it comes down to the injustices this country has faced in these past months. Earlier this year, in a game against the Utah Jazz, James showed up with a black t-shirt that read “The World is Watching This Time.” With stopwatches frozen at 8:46 to signify how long officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, who repeatedly expressed his inability to breathe.

 Also, he helped form “More Than a Vote,” a group dedicated to mobilizing African-American voters and fighting voter suppression. The organization was created in response to the death of Floyd. In light of that, James donated $100,000 to help pay court debts for former felons in the state of Florida so that they can register to vote.

Following the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis., James was the first to join the Milwaukee Bucks in boycotting the games and considering not playing the remainder of the season until a change was shown. When the NBA returned to action, he sent out a powerful message by taking a knee next to his Lakers teammates and thanking Colin Kaepernick for his sacrifice.

For years athletes like Muhammad Ali, Bill Russel and Kareem Abdul-Jabar are known as cultural pioneers for being the best in their respective sports and using their platforms to spread light on racism in this world. James will soon be a part of that company because of his leadership shown on and off the court.

Last month, Wheaties cereal announced a collaboration with James and his I PROMISE school to be featured on their cereal box for their “A CHAMPION OF CHANGE” segment.

In July of 2018, the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools officially opened the doors of the I PROMISE School which is located in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

James serves as the school’s vice-principal and stands on making the school a safe and nurturing place for all students to earn their educations and achieve their dreams.

“Providing hope through impactful programming and eliminating barriers with vital resources, the school is built on the premise that no one walks through life alone,” says the Wheaties’ “Breakfast for Champions” campaign. “What started with just a kid from Akron continues as a movement of many that are changing the world.”

In his 17 years in the league, King James has proved to be a heavy influencer in modern day basketball. He’s captivated millions of kids all over to continue to work hard in everything they do.

Leaving Lebron out of the Time 100 list is like leaving him out of the G.O.A.T conversation: you just can’t do it. He’s proven day in and day out why he deserves his “…. respect.”