Magic Johnson: Athletes need to speak up more like LeBron James

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Many athletes are afraid to take a stand or speak their mind. So many times, when they say the wrong thing, they alienate a group of fans and ultimately sponsors, costing them millions.

LeBron James might be the wealthiest player in the NBA, but he hasn't been afraid to speak out. For that, Magic Johnson recently spoke up for LeBron's ability to do that.

“LeBron is a great example of doing a wonderful job,” Magic Johnson said at an event Friday for the Giant of Africa, according to ESPN.

“When this first came out, when you think about everything that he stood up for -- the Donald Sterling thing, when that mess happened, just now with these young people being shot down unarmed, he's been right out front, so I've got to give him a lot of credit. If he's out front being the best player, then the other guys usually follow the best guy."

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Who else speaks up?

Many of the guys who speak up in sports seem to be the wrong guys doing it. Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman and Rashard Mendenhall seem to be a few of those. Guys like LeBron and Magic, however, seem to have a better grasp of reality and aren't caught up in the Skip Bayless “I'm going to yell about whatever ridiculous point I am trying to make” mentality.

Barkley, despite his sometimes outlandish statements, was part of the Giant of Africa cause and should be commended for that.

"For us to change things, we have to get people to the table that can bring about change," Johnson said, according to ESPN. "We've got to do it in a peaceful way. What Nelson was able to do was bring people, motivate people, educate people, and then go have them go out and be his ambassadors to bring about change. You see? That's what he was a master of. And so what we have to do in the States is do the same thing: bring about like-minded people who can bring about change. But not just lip service because we've had enough lip service.

"If it's just talk and [African-Americans] still stay suppressed and think that people don't care about them, then the same thing is going to happen. And so it's going to be important that these meetings take place and we can really bring about serious change because the distrust and the disconnect is huge. Make no mistake about it. It's bigger than we've seen on TV. Blacks don't think that they're ever going to get a fair shake; they think every time the police is coming, it's going to be trouble. And so we've got to really make sure we can bring about serious change on everybody's side. On minorities' side as well as the law enforcement side, as well as the government side. 'Cause everybody gotta come together on this thing."

What has LeBron spoken up for?

The moment he is most criticized for - “The Decision” on ESPN when he chose the Heat – still was one that raised money for the Boys & Girls Club.

He also has voiced opinions on Ferguson, the police choking case in New York and more.

"It's a sensitive subject right now," James was quoted as saying. "Violence is not the answer, and retaliation isn't the solution. As a society, we just have to do better. I pray for the families of the lost ones."

LeBron continues to speak his mind for what is right, which we do need a little more of. Magic is right about that one.

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