Nets star Kevin Durant and Lakers forward LeBron James may be the NBA’s biggest rivalry. The two future Hall of Famers have met in the NBA Finals three times with Durant getting the better of LeBron twice. However, off of the court, they are surprisingly good friends.
During the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, Durant and LeBron famously did a campaign for Uber in which the two candidly shared their life experiences. The viral campaign was headed by the current Chief Marketing Officer of Netflix Bozoma Saint John who was the Chief Brand Officer at Uber during that time.
Saint John recently sat down with Durant’s Agent Rich Kleinman on the latest episode of The Boardroom’s Out of Office and revealed some shocking new details about the campaign.
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Uber Was Upset About KD and LeBron Interview
“New management didn’t really see the value of my contributions. Although for the record I was the one who put LeBron and KD in an Uber and had them talk about their black male experiences,” Saint John said.
As with most things LeBron does, the Uber interview went viral after he unloaded on former United States President Donald Trump for his failure to lead the country.
The higher-ups at Uber did not like the attention that the company was receiving as a result of the interview.
“After it aired Laura Ingraham said that “He should shut up and dribble,” and that created a whole firestorm and inspired him in new ways to create “More Than an Athlete,” Saint John continued.
“And we went on ESPN and all kinds of places talking about this inflection moment for him. I came back to the office and my boss said that I should essentially not bring any more attention to Uber based on those experiences.”
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Fox News Anchor’s Comments Inspired a New LeBron Campaign
Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham was not happy about LeBron’s comments on Trump which caused her to unload on him and Durant in a news segment where she famously told both athletes to “shut up and dribble.”
“It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,” Ingraham said via National Public Radio.
“Keep the political comments to yourselves. … Shut up and dribble.”
Ingraham’s comments made James create the “More Than an Athlete” campaign, one that seeks to not put athletes in a box.
For Saint John, Uber’s Silence Spoke Volumes
“This was the beginning of what was racial reckoning right? And if there’s a company who can authentically be in the center when we are talking about the inequities of women, of people of color in corporate spaces, you are literally being held up as the poster child for the people who don’t do it,” Saint John said.
“And now you’ve been given this golden opportunity because you’re involved, accidentally, not even of your own volition in this incredible moment, and you’re gonna tell us to be quiet?”
Saint John’s Interview with KD and LeBron currently has 2.2 million views on YouTube. On her last day with the company in 2018, she won the Cannes Lion award for that same campaign.