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LeBron James

LeBron James Opens Up About Dealing With Fame and the 'Shock' of White America

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Source: HBO

<h4>LeBron James<h4>

In an episode of HBO's "The Shop," LeBronJames sat down with celebrity guests Jon Stewart, Odell Beckham Jr, Snoop Dogg, and Vince Staples, to talk but also politics, parenthood, the pressures of fame, parenting, and reckoning with race in America.

At one point, James opened up about attending a predominantly white Catholic high school (where he recalls learning what a pantry was for the first time).

"In high school I was on some like, 'I'm not fucking with white people.' I was so institutionalized growing up in the hood, it's like 'they don't fuck with us, they don't want us to succeed... So, I'm like, 'I'm going to this school to play ball, and that's it. I don't want nothing to do with white people. I don't believe that they want anything to do with me.'... That was my initial thoughts and my initial shock to white America when I was 14 years old— for the first time in my life."

James attributed his choice to be more vocal about race to those early experience and to the death of Trayvon Martin.

“When I decided I was going to start speaking up and not giving a fuck about the backlash or if it affects me, my whole mind-set was ‘It's not about me’,"he said. "My popularity went down. But at the end of the day, my truth to so many different kids and so many different people was broader than me personally."

READ: LeBron James to Produce New Political Docu-Series 'Shut Up and Dribble'

The conversation was featured in an episode of "The Shop," a series hosted by James, Maverick Carter's Uninterrupted, HBO Sport, that brings together athletes and entertainers in a barbershop setting to discuss critical issues.

“Anyone who has been in a real barbershop, like the ones where I grew up, knows why this show can be so incredible.” James said in a statement.