Doing rounds of media following his non-profit foundation partnering with the Akron School District to open a new school aimed at helping the most at-risk youth in his hometown, the topic of Trump came up again (on CNN with Don Lemon).
Once again, LeBron did not hold back.
Also from that interview (hat tip TMZ):
“When you’re a part of sports, it just brings so much camaraderie and so much fun. We’re in a position right now in America, more importantly, where this race thing has taken over because I believe our president is kinda trying to divide us.”
”He is (trying to divide us). 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 sports to kind of divide us.”
“That’s something that I can’t relate to because I know that sport was the first time I was ever around someone white. And I got the 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.”
LeBron is right, the President and others want to use sports — specifically, the NFL’s anthem controversy — to both divide the nation and rile up his base. There is no nuance to the conversation, no back-and-forth, no dialogue.
There will be no meaningful repercussions for LeBron speaking out against the president. For one, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has encouraged players to use social media to be involved in causes, he will back LeBron. Jeanie Buss will not say anything as the Lakers’ owner (and unlike the NFL, elite NBA players have the power in that relationship). Most importantly, the NBA and NFL have very different fan bases, and the younger, more urban, more diverse NBA will mostly just nod in agreement with him.
LeBron is going to keep speaking his mind, and Los Angeles he could have even a larger megaphone.