“In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality,” James said during the episode. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f— I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.’
“The players are who make the ship go. We make it go. Every Sunday, without Todd Gurley and without Odell Beckham Jr., without those players, those guys, there is no football. And it’s the same in the NBA.”
Gurley, the Los Angeles Rams‘ star running back, was a guest on Friday night’s episode, which several times compared professional basketball with professional football.
“The difference between the NBA and the NFL, the NBA is what we believe he [a player] can be. The potential,” James said. “In the NFL, it’s like what can you do for me this Sunday, or this Monday or this Thursday, and if you ain’t it, we moving on.”
Added Gurley: “That what I say: Your best ability is availability. … It’s really week by week. It ain’t no year by year.”
“The Shop” is a 30-minute show set in a barbershop where athletes and celebrities have conversations about life and sports. James was talking with his business partner Maverick Carter, Gurley and actor/rapper Ice Cube when he made the comments.
“I’m so appreciative in our league of our commissioner,” James said, referencing Adam Silver. “He doesn’t mind us having … a real feeling and to be able to express that. It doesn’t even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out. As long as we are doing it in a very educational, nonviolent way, then he’s absolutely OK with it.”
James and Carter are executive producers of “The Shop,” which debuted this year.