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Shut Up and Dribble, the NBA star’s social-justice documentary, suggests that true neighbor love requires Christlike sacrifice.
Shut Up and Dribble, produced by LeBron James and available via Showtime, examines black athletes who have refused to “stick to sports” and have instead used their platform to take stands for racial and social justice. One of the subtle lessons of the series’ historical survey is that standing for what’s right is almost always an in-the-moment risk. This reality prompts a question central to Christian discipleship: will we love—that is, speak for—our neighbors as ourselves, even when it may cost us something?
Question - Neighbor - Love - Center - Ethics
This question of neighbor love is at the center of Christian ethics. Jesus made it clear that the entirety of God’s law rests on the call to love God and love neighbor. The Apostle John emphasizes that the love of neighbor cannot be separated from the love of God. Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan highlights how biblical neighbor love is one that inherently involves cost and risk. Not only does the Samaritan take on a financial cost to care for the injured party, he also risks his reputation in crossing a taboo ethnic barrier. Ultimately, Christ himself uniquely displays the cost of neighbor love, enduring ridicule and injustice in order to lay his life down for the world.
Named after Laura Ingraham of Fox News said that James should “shut up and dribble,” the three-part documentary primarily details past NBA players who have voiced calls for fair compensation (Oscar Robertson), anti-racism (Bill Russell), and awareness of police brutality (Craig Hodges), which earned them ridicule and, in some cases, exclusion. The question of risky neighbor love comes into sharp focus when the series turns its gaze to James’ analogue, Michael Jordan. At the high of his popularity in the 1990s, Jordan allegedly retorted,...
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