I prefer LeBron's outspokenness and willingness to open himself to criticism than to Michael Jordan's cowardly silence on big issues because "Republicans buy shoes too." LeBron is using his visibility to bring attention to causes bigger than him in the tradition of transcendent athletes like Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, Venus Williams, and Jim Brown and good on him for it.
However, on this particular point, I still feel Donald Sterling is getting a bad rap. I'm the first to criticize bigotry when it's real, but Donald Sterling was not intending to be racist I don't think.
In fact, a close listening to the transcript of the infamous call -- which includes reading between the lines -- indicates that he was inadvertently complimenting black guys.
What I heard in him saying 'I don't want you around black guys, don't bring blacks to my games' was an aging, increasingly infirm man who has anxiety about his own declining attractiveness and virility, particularly in comparison to black guys. These remarks were about sexual competition, not about racism.
About the only way Sterling was that he let slip his stereotypes about black male sexuality and sexual prowess, but -- come on, the guy shouldn't be drummed out of the NBA because of that.