LeBron James finally has broken his silence. And he has far more than just basketball on his mind.
James sat down with CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday for his first public interview since he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency earlier this month. While discussing the importance of sports in America, the 33-year-old took a direct shot at President Donald Trump.
“What I’ve noticed over the last few months is that he’s kind of used sports to kind of divide us,” James told Lemon of Trump.
“That’s something that I can’t relate to, because I know that sports was the first time I was ever around someone white. I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got the opportunity to learn about me … And I was like, ‘Oh wow, this is all because of sports.’ ”
James’ comments were an apparent reference to Trump’s continued crusade against NFL players who protest during the national anthem. Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began those protests in 2016 to call attention to racial inequality and police brutality in America, but Trump repeatedly has painted the protests as anti-military and anti-American while criticizing owners and players alike.
Trump also was critical of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors for refusing to visit the White House after winning the 2017 NBA title, to which James responded by calling the president a “bum.”
When asked what he’d say to Trump if the two were face to face, James told Lemon, “I would never sit across from him.”
James had plenty more to say about Trump — as well as his new school in Akron, Ohio, which opened Monday — in his interview with Lemon, which you can watch in its entirety below.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images