USA Today has reported that LeBron James rides his bicycle to and from his basketball games. This article made the headlines on the USA Today website because of how abnormal it is in America for a rich and famous basketball star to use a bicycle for transportation.
Instead of explaining the real reasons LeBron rides his bicycle to games, the article highlights how unusual LeBron is. It sounds patronizing and almost seems to be mocking James:
LeBron James, environment MVP.
The Miami Heat star reduces his carbon footprint the same way a 12-year-old might, by riding his bicycle to basketball games. The 6-9, 250-pound three-time NBA MVP has been doing this for a while now, taking advantage of South Florida’s warm climes (sic). But that still doesn’t make it any less unusual.
“He’s a different animal,” teammate Dwyane Wade told Fox Sports’ Chris Tomasson on Tuesday. “He’s a different beast. What can you say?”
LeBron probably rides his bicycle to games because he likely gets there faster than he would if he were stuck in traffic. It’s probably more therapeutic for him than being stressed out behind the wheel, and it probably clears his mind and relaxes him before and after his basketball games.
But the USA Today article didn’t acknowledge these benefits. Instead, James is an outcast. He’s doing something that only a 12-year-old would do.
I don’t fault the USA Today reporter for his portrayal of James. He was probably trying to be playful rather than patronizing. But the portrayal of James as an outcast only further reinforces the belief that bicycles aren’t truly a viable mode of transportation. This perception is systemic in our society because we have become so dependent on motor vehicles.
Perhaps 20 years from now an article entitled “NBA Player Drives Car To Games” will make headlines because it will be so abnormal and old-fashioned to drive an automobile to the game.