This era of sports have brought about some of the most outspoken, self-aware athletes that have come along in a long time. One of the most willing to speak out on issues both on and off the court is new Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
James has had no issues speaking out and recently that has put him at odds with President Donald Trump. Most famously, James called Trump a ‘bum’ after an incident involving the Golden State Warriors and their invitation to visit the White House being revoked.
Trump has also suggested that NFL players who don’t stand for the National Anthem should be fired.
During an interview with Don Lemon, James explained his belief that Trump is attempting to use sports as a means to divide the population, via CNN:
“I think athletics are important, but also their mind. When you’re part of sports, it just brings so much camaraderie and so much fun. We are in a position right now, in America, more importantly, where this whole race thing has taken over. One, because I believe our president is kinda trying to divide us. He is. I don’t want to say kinda. He’s dividing us, and what I’ve noticed over the last few months is that he’s kind of used sport to kind of divide us.”
That is particularly troubling for someone like James, who used recalled his own experiences growing up and how sports brought him closer with white teammates:
“That’s something that I can’t relate to, because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white. And I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got the opportunity to learn about me, and we became very good friends. And I was like, ‘Oh, wow. This is all because of sports.’ Sports have never been something that divides people. It’s always something that brings someone together.”
Just as important as a player’s performance on the court is who they are as a person off of it. Whether someone agrees with his sentiments or not, James has always spoken out for what he believes in an intelligent manner and has always worked to help those less fortunate.
Trump responded with criticism of Lemon and James, while sharing that he believes Michael Jordan is the superior player. That certainly won’t stop James from continuing to work towards his goals off the court, and helping those who need it.