LeBron James was named Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsperson of the Year for 2016, and it seems impossible to argue against. Not only did he carry the Cavaliers to Cleveland’s first major sports title since the 1950’s, he also sank tons of money and time into massive charitable initiatives in his home state of Ohio and beyond, engaged politically on a level he never had before, and continued that trend on the cover with one key “fashion” choice.
On the lapel of his suit coat, LeBron wore a safety pin, which in the days after the presidential election of Donald Trump was assigned as a symbol to immigrants, Muslims and people of color that the wearer of such a pin is an ally, someone to turn to if you’re feeling harassed, intimidated or marginalized. It echoes sentiments LeBron has expressed time and time again when he turns his focus outside the basketball arena, that he wants to be a symbol of unity and support rather than opposition.
The safety pin isn’t so much a repudiation of Donald Trump’s ideology as it is a kind bastion against it. As a subtle message conveyed in one photo ostensibly about sports, it’s a welcome sentiment.