Friday night, former President Barack Obama will sit down with Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James for a special episode of HBO's The Shop. This appearance comes as election day approaches and it will provide the men an opportunity to discuss hot topics. They will also cover James' time in the NBA bubble in Orlando.
The show, produced under COVID-19 guidelines, puts James, his business partner Maverick Carter and Obama together in a socially-distanced setting. The episode will air on Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. ET and will also be available to stream on HBO Max. "Two years ago, LeBron and Maverick created a unique forum with 'The Shop,'" said Nina Rosenstein, executive vice president of HBO Programming, in a press release. "Their conversation with President Obama is candid, compelling and urgently relevant."
When James, the Lakers and the other NBA teams nearly left the bubble following the Jacob Blake shooting, Obama showed his support on Twitter. "I commend the players on the Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like Doc Rivers, and the NBA and WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values," Obama tweeted.
The former president also provided advice to James, Chris Paul and other NBA players when they tried to determine how to proceed with the games amid ongoing protests. He discussed the Blake shooting and provided advice for how the players could "leverage their immense platforms" to make a difference.
According to Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for Obama, "They discussed establishing a social justice committee to ensure that the players' and league's actions this week led to sustained, meaningful engagement on criminal justice and police reform." Obama reportedly supported the players continuing the playoffs. Although they first had to work with the owners to implement additional change items.
Since creating Uninterrupted with Carter, James has featured several prominent figures on The Shop. He has sat down with Don Cheadle, Patrick Mahomes, Rob Gronkowski, Kevin Hart, DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown. The list continues with big names from various industries, but Friday's episode will mark the first time a former president has appeared.
“The Shop is exactly why we created Uninterrupted,” James said, according to HBO. “Anyone who has been in a real barbershop, like the ones where I grew up, knows why this show can be so incredible. I’m really excited HBO believed in our idea and is helping us create something special.”