LeBron James’ frank conversation with equally successful and talented friends, is the premises for his new show, The Shop, which debuted on HBO on Tuesday night, and it was a refreshingly unfiltered look at race, the burden of celebrity, what it takes to continue to compete at a high level, and the struggles of parenting.
In the premiere episode, LeBron is flanked by stars, including comedian Jon Stewart; LeBron’s longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter; rapper Vince Staples; the NFL’s highest-paid receiver Odell Beckham Jr.; social activist and football player Micheal Bennett; WNBA superstar Candace Parker; youth football coach Snoop Dogg; and NBA Champ Draymond Green.
The Shop offers a look at what black barbershop conversation would look like in any black barbershop in the United States, assuming, of course, that OBJ and LeBron go to the same barber.
The defining moment of the episode, of which there were many, may have come when King James talked about attending an exclusive, private high school in Akron, Ohio and his true feelings about white people then versus his feelings now.
“When I first went to the 9th grade in high school, I was on some ‘I’m not fucking with white people,’” James says. “I was so institutionalized growing up in the hood it was like, ‘They don’t fuck with us, they don’t want us to succeed.’”
James added that before attending Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary, he and his friends were only going to be focused on playing basketball and not forming friendships with his white classmates. Carter noted that by the end of the year, everyone was friends and going to the same parties.
Watch LeBron break down how his relationship with white people evolved, and if every episode is like the inaugural episode, then The Shop will become must-see TV.