LeBron James just sent a powerful message to the president without mentioning his name.

LeBron James has never been shy about speaking up for what's right. This time, he's letting his shoes do the talking.

The basketball great wore a pair of his signature Nikes with the word "equality" emblazoned on the backs. James wore one white shoe and one black.

Photo by AP Photo/Nick Wass.


The choice was not coincidental, as James and the Cavaliers suited up to play the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena, just one mile east of the White House.

Following the game, James made a statement to the press. Without mentioning the president by name, he delivered a pointed message about the importance of coming together against an oppressive leader.

"Well, ... obviously, we all know where we are and we know who's at the helm here. Us as Americans, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter who you are, I think we all have to understand that having equal rights and being able to stand for something and speak for something and keep the conversation going.

Obviously, I've been very outspoken and well-spoken about the situation that's going on at the helm here, and we're not going to let one person dictate us, us as Americans, how beautiful and how powerful we are as people. So equality is all about understanding our rights, understanding what we stand for, and how powerful we are as men, as women, black or white or Hispanic.

No matter your race, whatever the case may be, this is a beautiful country and we're never going to let one person dictate how beautiful and how powerful we are."



This is the second time James laced up his "equality" kicks for a game.

James wore the black pair of Nike Equality 15s on the opening night of NBA play in October. It's believed the gesture was in response to the controversy surrounding NFL players protesting the mistreatment of African Americans. While NBA players are barred from taking a knee during the national anthem, James' footwear served as a silent but powerful message.

His outspoken nature comes as no surprise to longtime fans, who recognize James as a longtime advocate of social justice issues.

"Because we know this is the greatest country in the world. This is the land of the free. But, we still have problems just like everybody else," James said to the press during Cavaliers Media Day in September:

"I will in my voice, I will in my passion, I will in my money, I will in my resources to my youth and my inner city and outside my inner city to let these kids know that there is hope, there is greater walks of life, and not one individual, no matter if it's the president of the United States ... can stop your dreams from becoming a reality."

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

James puts his money where his mouth is, too.

His LeBron James Family Foundation funds educational and extracurricular activities in his hometown of Akron and around the country to encourage kids at risk of falling behind to stay academically engaged. The program is open to students from grades 3 to 12; those who stick with his "I Promise" program even have a chance to earn a four-year scholarship to the University of Akron. Next year, James will open up an "I Promise" school in Akron.

Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Sprite.

While we can't all personally afford to send hundreds of kids to college or to build our own schools, each of us can send a message loud and clear that hate, bigotry, and inequality have no home here.

Not on the court, not in our communities, and certainly not in the White House.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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