LeBron James: Trump is dividing us

NBA player LeBron James discusses the opening of his new school in Ohio and the power sports have to bring people together.

Posted: Jul 31, 2018 2:35 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2018 2:35 PM

LeBron James thinks President Trump is using athletics, and athletes, to split up the country. And he's rejecting the premise like an opponent's ill-advised layup.

"What I've noticed over the past few months," James shared with CNN's Don Lemon during a sit-down interview on Monday. "(Is) he's kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that's something that I can't relate to."

Referencing Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling protests during the pre-game national anthem launched an NFL movement, and more recently, Stephen Curry, who honored his promise of skipping a visit to Donald Trump's White House, James bemoaned a myriad of instances in which Trump has twisted peaceful displays of dissent into an indictment of a decaying American value system.

"I can't sit back and say nothing," said James, who lists participating in youth athletics as one of the most inclusive experiences of his upbringing.

"Sports was the first time I was ever around someone white," revealed the four-time NBA MVP. "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.'"

Flashing the trademark smile that has routinely graced magazine covers and commercial shoots since he was a junior in high school, James laughed at learning how much earlier his youthful "white friends" ate dinner and went to bed, and noted his surprise at seeing food stored in a pantry.

"For me, everything where I grew up was on top of the refrigerator," he explained.

Feeding young minds

Now a 33-year-old man, with two sons and a daughter, James has more pantries, and more refrigerators, than he'd ever dreamed of as the child of a single teen mom living the "everyday struggle" in Akron, Ohio. But it's from this existence that his "I Promise School" has been born.

James' foundation has teamed with the Akron (Ohio) Public Schools system to create an elementary school that will support at-risk children in his hometown.

"We want every kid that walks through this school to be inspired, to come ... away with something, something where they can give back," said James, who poured millions from his own pocket into the project. "For kids, in general, all they want to know is that someone cares. And when they walk through that door, I hope they know that someone cares."

Asked by Lemon about the prospect of entering politics after his playing days, James at first dodged the subject like so many defenders throughout his career. But when asked what he would say if someone told him, "If you don't run, Trump's going to win," he had a change of tune.

"Well, in that case, I may (run)," James said. "I believe there's someone else out there. I hope."

Queried on what he'd say to Trump if they were face to face, he was quick to say, "I would never sit across from him."

James' main focus is helping the next generation conquer their obstacles -- with inspiration from the past.

"If we look at some of the greatest leaders of our time, you look at, you know, Muhammad Ali, you look at Dr. Martin Luther King, and all the adversity they went through," he told Lemon. "They always use it to say 'OK, this is even more motivation, this is even more a way for me to even be more powerful.' And they're the reason why we are here today."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 540083

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798481529
Mobile41283809
Madison35157506
Tuscaloosa25925455
Shelby25302249
Montgomery24723593
Baldwin21411310
Lee15993172
Calhoun14574319
Morgan14425280
Etowah13925353
Marshall12280225
Houston10648282
Elmore10158206
Limestone10070151
St. Clair9948245
Cullman9768194
Lauderdale9460243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8341176
Walker7261278
Autauga7005108
Jackson6840112
Blount6773139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5581118
Dale4877113
Russell445738
Chilton4373113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394877
Chambers3596123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303098
Winston275873
Bibb264764
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219169
Fayette212862
Henry189943
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178141
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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Humidity builds across our area through much of your Monday, importing plenty of extra cloud coverage. A few spotty showers and storms are likely, especially during the afternoon. By mid-week, we dry out and temperatures soar toward the weekend.
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