Lebron James might be the champion of people of all races, but the athlete admitted it wasn’t always so easy to get along with everyone. On the premiere episode of James’ HBO series The Shop – which debuted on Tuesday (Aug. 28) – the NBA star dished on his relationship with white people and how it was hard to co-exist with them at one point.
The first episode invited stars like Vince Staples and Odell Beckham Jr. to the barber shop to have conversations on race relations, among other topics. Due to James’ childhood growing up in a predominantly black area of Akron, Ohio, he had never been around a lot of white people before. It wasn’t until he attended Catholic high school St. Vincent-St. Mary that he was introduced to them.
“I went to an all-white high school. So when I first went to the 9th grade in high school, I was on some like, I’m not f**king with white people,” he admitted.
He suggested the resistance stemmed from preconceived notions about white people that had been taught to him over the years. “I was so institutionalized growing up in the hood,” he explained. “It was like, they don’t f**k with us. They don’t want us to succeed. So I’m like I’m going to this school to play ball, and that’s it… It’s me and my boys. We going here to school together. We going there to hoop. That was my initial thoughts, initial shock to white America when I was 14 years old.”
Over time, the Lakers star said he changed his views. “Took me a while to adjust to it,” he added. Even so, he revealed he fought with the idea of whether he was accepted for his talents or his personality. “It’s hard to bounce because I’m a kid that plays this game at such a high level,” he continued. “You’re in your mind like are they happy that I’m here because of who I am or because of my conversation that I can have with them?”
Watch the full conversation in the video below.
LeBron talks about the transition from his neighborhood to his catholic high school, being around all white people for the first time and finding out what a pantry is pic.twitter.com/BhIpxsC5xJ
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) August 29, 2018
READ MORE: Lebron James’ Barber Shop Talk Show ‘The Shop’ Lands At HBO