Ignore the Critics: LeBron James Is Great at Karaoke

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 22 2013 2:13 PM

LeBron James Is Great at Karaoke

Over the weekend, a number of Miami Heat players took the stage for teammate Shane Battier’s “South Beach Battioke,” a karaoke fundraiser for his youth charity, the Take Charge Foundation. Chief among them, of course, was LeBron James, who sang Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” and then was joined by Dwyane Wade for Shai’s “If I Ever Fall in Love.” LeBron’s already taking a lot of heat for this performance, which is, admittedly, a bit tone-deaf. But I’d like to rise up in defense.

I have a very strong belief about karaoke: It doesn’t matter if you’re a good singer. It matters if you’re an enthusiastic performer. And while LBJ’s MJ is only OK, the Shai double-team with Wade is a fantastic karaoke moment. They pull a flabbergasted woman out of the audience, install her in a big white throne, and serenade her. LeBron gets down on his knees to pledge his love, and eventually ends up mock-battling with Wade for her hand. Like the onstage subjects of the routines in Magic Mike, the woman is obviously delighted, and the crowd devours it. And LeBron is a showman! He’s loose, funny, and silly—all the things he rarely lets himself be in public anymore.

Advertisement

I haven’t yet seen video of Battier’s performance; I assume it wasn’t flashy but made his teammates better. Mike Miller, it should be said, has a pretty tight flow. Chris Andersen cannot rap. But LeBron and Dwyane crushed it—even though they can’t sing.

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.