Before the admirable leadership shown by Lebron James and so many other NBA players on the Trayvon Martin case, retired NBA All-Star Chris Webber scrapped most of his planned weekly radio show. On the air this past Tuesday Webber opened:

“I don’t give a damn about sports when things like this happen to Trayvon Martin.”

Webber then proceeded to dedicate well over an hour of his 90 minute show solely to the Trayvon Martin case. The tragic irony of when and where Martin was killed was not lost on  Webber who said:

“This little kid was watching… the NBA All-Star Game that I was working at. [He] left around half-time and never came back… This is the first thing I ever saw on TV that made me cry. Because when I heard the screams of a little boy stopped by a gunshot….”

Webber’s words,  tone, and passion suggested a personal responsibility to make right what he couldn’t have known a month earlier while partaking in the game’s celebratory atmosphere.

They would also be consistent his strong conviction on his social responsibilty as a well-known athlete. During the show Webber — who is also a well-known student of American History — expounded on his childhood upbringing and influence where his father:  took him to the Baltimore Blacks in Wax Museum;  took him on trips to Mississippi to understand the history of lynchings; and showed him pictures of Emmett Till and explained the historical significance of the story.

Webber’s upbringing may have also given him the resolve to turn down multiple radio show opportunities that would give his voice a far broader reach, but would limit his content.  He explained what he was told by radio producers:

“Chris, we don’t want you to talk about politics, we want you to talk about sports.”

Webber’s decision also makes it less likely for his words to be recycled by mainstream sports media — which is exactly what happened. In explaining his refusal for larger radio platforms, and justifying dedicating his radio show to Trayvon Martin, Webber said:

“This is who I am”.

To learn more about the Trayvon Martin reaction and who Chris Webber is besides dunks and passes, check out the following links from Tuesday’s show:

You can go here to tune in weekly to The Chris Webber Show. Webber ended the show by saying:

‘Trayvon Martin — we really support his family. For all of you as Joe Madison said:

‘What are you going to do about it?”

 

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