LeBron James could no longer sit quietly and watch people use sports for the wrong purpose, so he decided to speak up and send a message to Donald Trump: sports should unite, not divide.
During an interview hours after the opening of his I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, the four-time NBA MVP discussed his dream come true, but also used the opportunity to speak out against the President.
“You know, we are in a position right now in America where this race thing [has] taken over,” James, 33, said. “I believe our president is kinda trying to divide us. He is — I don’t want to say kinda. He’s dividing us.”
“I can’t sit back and say nothing,” James added.
Trump has commented these protests on his rallies and Twitter posts and even threatened to take away tax breaks for the NFL, urging team owners to fine or even fire athletes who “disrespect our flag.”
The businessman-tuned-president also withdrew the invitations to Philadelphia Eagles and the Golden State Warriors — NFL and NBA champs, respectively — to visit the White House after several players said they wouldn’t attend.
James was one of those athletes who said that – if his team should win the NBA Championship – he wouldn’t show up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
He’s also called Donald Trump a “bum” in the past.
However, during the recent interview, James didn’t resort to name-calling. Instead, he spoke openly about how being involved in athletics helped him understand people from different backgrounds.
“Sports [was] the first time I ever was around someone white,” he said. “I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got an opportunity to learn about me. And we became very good friends. It was always about sport.”
“Sports has never been something that divides people. It’s always been something that brings someone together.”