The first episode of HBO's The Shop featuring Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James aired Tuesday, and the four-time MVP was joined by a number of notable celebrities and discussed a wide range of topics, including politics, race relations, raising children and sports.
James was joined in a barbershop by business partner Maverick Carter, comedian Jon Stewart, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, rapper Snoop Dogg, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker and Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Michael Bennett, among others.
One moment that stood out was when Carter asked James how he still finds the fire to compete at the level he does after 15 years in the NBA and eight straight NBA Finals appearances, and he pointed to his ability to motivate himself internally instead of externally.
"I know exactly what the f--k I need to do, I know how to do it and I know how I'm gonna get the best out of myself," James said. "I don't need you to push me. Once it gets to a point where you still need people to push you at a certain age, then you don't need to be doing it no more."
James also said watching his kids play has helped provide more fire, although he admitted he regrets giving his son his name and the pressure that comes with that:
Conversation also turned to the double standards black athletes face in the United States, and James pointed out how white quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady would be treated differently in the same situations as black athletes.
Beckham also weighed in, saying sometimes he feels "like a zoo animal":
There were also discussions during Tuesday's episode where others started comparing James to previous athletic greats.
Stewart said James reminds him of Muhammad Ali because of his willingness to take a stand on issues outside of just the arena of sports, while Green discussed the way the newly signed Laker took a Michael Jordan-like step after he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers following his time on the Miami Heat:
The show gave fans a glimpse at James off the basketball court as he engaged friends and peers in an unfiltered and open way. While he is known for being one of the best basketball players in the sport's history, his grasp on so many facets of life were on full display and figure to continue to be as The Shop continues.
He is a role model both on and off the court, and Tuesday's episode made it clear he is motivated to continue being just that.