Lebron James is arguably the first iconic celebrity athlete since Muhammad Ali to use his superstar status to shine a light on American injustice
Lebron James is arguably the first iconic celebrity athlete since Muhammad Ali to use his superstar status to shine a light on American injustice and empower black people to lead successful lives. So it’s honor to know the NBA’s best player is staking his name as a Hollywood player with the docuseries “Warriors of Liberty City.”
The first episode will debut on the final day of music and film festival SXSW and the first season has been picked up by Starz.
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James and his best friend and business partner Maverick Carter are the show’s executive producers through their company Springhill Entertainment. They bought into the vision created by Evan Rosenfeld, the young Miami filmmaker who understands what I am trying to accomplish through my involvement in youth sports and the Liberty City Optmist Club. We became friends while he was working as a producer for The U 30 for 30 documentary and have colloborated on a couple of film projects.
In 2012, Rosenfeld, along with film producer Lucas Leyva and artist Jillian Mayer, produced the short movie, The Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, starring yours truly. It ended being selected for a screening at the Sundance Film Festival. Last year, for the season premiere of Vice World of Sports, Rosenfeld produced a 45-minute documentary featuring the rivarly between the Pop Warner teams Liberty City Warriors and Gwen Cherry Bulls.
Now, we are doing this series that expands on what the Vice program portrayed. The show goes beyond the gridiron to tell the stories of the boys who grew up playing for the Liberty City Optimist Club and went on to star in the National Football League such as former NFL wide reciever Chad Johnson and current Cleveland Browns runningback Duke Johnson. We are also shining a light on rising high school stars like Tutu Atwell, Miami Northwestern Senior High’s quarterback who has committed to the University of Louisville.
Off the field, Warriors of Liberty City will focus on the people who are fighting to keep the community alive. The cameras follow Miami City Commissioner Keon Hardemon, school board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall and community activist Tangela Sears. They are all warriors who are fighting against all odds to end poverty and gun violence. But the show’s real stars are the kids in Liberty City Optimist Club and the volunteers, from the tutors to the coaches, who watch over them.
When he was playing for the Miam Heat in 2012, James gathered all the players for a team photo of them wearing hoodies to protest the murder of Miami Gardens teen Trayvn Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Lately, James has been outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and his divisive politics. And he didn’t back down from Fox News loudmouth Laura Ingraham’s commentary that James should “just shut and dribble.”
More importantly, James has understood his talents could pave the way for his loved ones, including his childhood friends, to achieve success as he rose to the top of the NBA. Too often, young pro athletes are seduced by the money and the fame that they forget about the people who had their backs since they played little league.
Not James. He partnered with his friends Maverick Carter, Rich Paul and Randy Mims to launch their own sports agency LRMR, which represents a formidable stable of NBA players. Now, James and Carter are looking to break down Tinseltown’s barriers by backing programming that shows America the black experience.
It shows both guys are on the same mission as I am.