Can Someone Please Give Jason Whitlock a Hug or Invite Him to Brunch or Something?

Illustration for article titled Can Someone Please Give Jason Whitlock a Hug or Invite Him to Brunch or Something?
Screenshot: Fox Sports

Sentient Stacy Adams shoebox Jason Whitlock is trending again today, for the same reason that his name always appears on my timeline when it does. A popular black athlete said or did something moderately cool, and this act offended Whitlock’s sensibilities enough for him cast judgment on said athlete with the fury of 27 porkpie hats left underneath strip-club food lamps.


This time, the focus of his ire was LeBron James, who held an impromptu dunk contest in the layup line of his son’s AAU tournament game last week—something he’s actually done several times before. Imagine, if you can muster the thought, the horror those 13- and 14-year-olds must have felt when LeBron decided to have some fun with them while they were warming up. The memory of sharing a court with one of the greatest basketball players of all time—and even exchanging high fives with him—will haunt them and their houses for years.

Jason Whitlock apparently shared this sentiment and thought it prudent to spend three minutes criticizing LeBron’s parenting and even Serena Williams’ weight again, while using LeBron’s mom (???) as the hook of his argument. (OK, that Serena part was made up, but you couldn’t tell because with him you never can!)


This is where I’m contractually, socially, racially, and morally obligated to find unique ways to express both the fallacy and the danger in Whitlock’s penchant for salty articulations about black athletes that make the Pound Cake speech look like a sugar cookie. But as tempting as that is, I’m not as interested in that today. Instead, I just...I don’t know, man. I just think he needs some black people to love him. When I see him now, I see a man who needs a hug. And if a hug is too personal and physical, then maybe just a brunch invitation. And if “a brunch date with Jason Whitlock” sounds too much like literal hell for that to happen, then maybe just a gift card to a really nice day spa.

Something obviously happened in this man’s life to make him the way he is, and maybe he’ll change if we’re kinder to him than life has been. It’s worth a shot because Jason Whitlock’s (anti) black life matters too.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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I’m conflicted here. I kind of want to play the “if it was any other dad” game, but it wasn’t...but it cool to have anyone else in the stands who can dunk, fathers/uncles/friends/etc..., come join the layup lines?

Does that only change because it’s Lebron James? Is if only cool because it’s Lebron James? I’m all for fatherhood, BLACK fatherhood, I’m for public displays of love to black sons, I’m for bigging up your black sons...but I’m not sure that this was that. Lebron dunking in the layup line doesn’t bother me, but if there were players or other people in the stands who didn’t care for it...I understand.

As for Jason, the framing of his point was off, but there might be some validity to it in some cases.