LeBron James didn’t shy away from discussing politics at NBA Media Day just 24 hours after dozens of NFL players protested during the national anthem on Sunday.
LeBron opened by saluting the NFL for actions around the league on Sunday, and also taking the time to remember that player who began the movement.
"I salute Colin Kaepernick for being as powerful as he was, and being the one that had to fall on the sword unfortunately, and I hate that ... I wish I owned an NFL team right now, I'd sign him today."
Throughout LeBron’s response he didn’t mention the President by name, instead choosing to address him in pronouns or references. James called Trump “that guy,” as well as slamming the President for trying to use sports to divide people.
“The thing that frustrated me and pissed me off is that he used the sports platform to divide us. Sport and sports is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter the shape, or size, or race, or ethnicity, or religion — or whatever. People find teams, people find payers, people find colors because of sport and they just gravitate toward that and it makes people so happy. And it brings people together like none other.”
Clearly passionate, LeBron spoke about the need to be a gatekeeper. To protect sports as a platform where everyone can complete, thrive and unite.
“I'm not going to let one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact he or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us.”
When asked if he regretted getting into a Twitter spat with the President, in which he referred to Trump by saying “U bum,” he offered the following:
LeBron James w/ no regrets about his "U Bum" tweet towards president Donald Trump: "He doesn't understand the power that he has." pic.twitter.com/Ibv3y2kfLN— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 25, 2017
“It wasn’t a name call ... it was like ‘You bum!’ Me and my friends call each other that all the time. I’m not his friend though.”
LeBron also talked about the power of the office.
“He doesn’t understand the power that he has for being the leader of this beautiful country. He doesn’t understand how many kids, no matter the race, look up to the President of the United States for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement.”
He closed with one simple, but powerful sentence.
“The people run this country, not one individual — and damn sure not him.”