LeBron James‘ new HBO show “The Shop” is damn good. It debuted Tuesday night (it will run a lot in the coming weeks, or it can be streamed), and in a media world filled with fake everything — insert your own Fox News joke here — this was a genuine, honest conversation. Hopefully, for some it provided insight into a perspective not their own, something we could all use more of in our “bubble” society.
From a basketball perspective, maybe the most interesting part was when Maverick Carter — LeBron’s long-time friend and business partner — asked him about motivation. LeBron talked about it being internal, and that he knew it would be time to retire when he started to “cheat the game” and didn’t want to put in the work.
“I know exactly what the f*** I need to do, I know how to do it and I know how I’m gonna get the best out of myself. I don’t need you to push me. Once it gets to a point where you still need people to push you at a certain age, then you don’t need to be doing it no more.”
The goal of the show was broadcast a black barbershop kind of conversation — with a white guy counterbalance from Jon Stewart — and so the room was filled with Draymond Green, Snoop Dogg, Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), and others. LeBron talked about how it was the Trayvon Martin murder — and him being a father, and how he could picture something like that happening to his young boys — that sparked him to start speaking out more on social issues.
All those athletes and entertainers in one place also led to a discussion of the double standard black athletes feel they face.
The show is worth watching, it’s a chance to hear Snoop Dogg talk about re-inventing himself, or when Green thinks LeBron really started to own his public persona.
That image is of someone willing to be authentic, and that is how LeBron’s new show feels. If this is the kind of thing he’s going to produce now that he lives in Los Angeles, he’s going to thrive in a second field.