LeBron James' co-founded company has filed to trademark the phrase "Shut Up and Dribble." Uninterrupted Inc. already sent the necessary paperwork to the United States Trademark and Patent Office several days ago, per USA Today.
The move was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek clapback at critics who want the LA Lakers superstar to remain silent on social issues.
“It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million to bounce a ball. LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach so keep the political commentary to yourself or as someone once said, ‘Shut Up and Dribble.’”
The filing of the patent promptly garnered social media reactions from fans, who were divided on James’ move:
“GOAT James doing what MJ never did”
The extent of the phrase's use will include "downloadable virtual goods, namely, computer programs featuring footwear, clothing, headwear, eyewear, bags, sports bags, backpacks, sports equipment, art, toys and accessories for use online and in online virtual worlds."
The phrase may have more relevance to James nowadays, but it has been used liberally for a long time. Some fans see the filing as nothing more than what the four-time MVP did with “Taco Tuesdays.”
Another James’ founded company filed for a trademark for the phrase but was denied.
LeBron James is keeping mum on China’s crackdown on the LGBTQ community
While LeBron James has been quick to criticize American political issues, he has refused to say anything against China's increasing hostility towards the LGBTQ community.
His biggest statement regarding Chinese political issues came when he debunked Philadelphia 76ers’ executive Daryl Morey’s words of encouragement to Hong Kong protesters against China.
Over the past year, James has been called out by Enes Kanter Freedom for turning a blind eye to alleged Chinese atrocities against minority groups. The four-time champ also hasn’t responded clearly or directly to issues involving forced labor and concentration camps in China, where Nike’s production companies are based.
Recently, two students from Tsinghua University were reportedly in hot water for distributing LGBTQ flags. Their punishment for a repeat offense includes canceling scholarships and forfeiting the opportunity to work for the Chinese government.
Nike and the NBA, like LeBron James, haven’t said anything on these issues, which is playing right into the “Shut up and Dribble” criticism.