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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.

Confirmed Cases: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8011179
DeSoto721079
Harrison539884
Jackson469387
Rankin401686
Madison384394
Lee364082
Forrest309478
Jones296184
Washington260399
Lafayette253143
Lauderdale2499135
Lamar229138
Oktibbeha203755
Bolivar202877
Neshoba1861111
Lowndes181262
Panola170640
Leflore169188
Sunflower164049
Warren156056
Monroe153073
Pontotoc149020
Marshall147330
Lincoln142959
Pike140456
Copiah138736
Scott126229
Coahoma125537
Yazoo122734
Grenada122639
Simpson122349
Union119725
Tate119339
Itawamba115926
Leake115842
Pearl River115060
Holmes114960
Adams109344
Prentiss108320
Wayne102722
Alcorn102112
George101419
Covington98529
Marion95443
Tippah93123
Newton86827
Chickasaw86226
Hancock85928
Tallahatchie84626
Winston84621
Tishomingo82241
Attala80526
Clarke76353
Clay70522
Jasper69217
Walthall64127
Calhoun62713
Noxubee60117
Smith59816
Yalobusha55614
Montgomery55423
Claiborne53916
Tunica53617
Lawrence53414
Perry51223
Carroll49712
Stone48614
Greene47918
Humphreys44916
Amite42713
Quitman4216
Jefferson Davis41711
Webster37813
Benton3608
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27710
Franklin2483
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23573377
Mobile16994316
Tuscaloosa10462140
Montgomery10352198
Madison942298
Shelby750465
Baldwin671269
Lee657165
Calhoun464761
Marshall442651
Etowah434151
Morgan422335
Houston419334
DeKalb349228
Elmore324653
St. Clair304042
Limestone293631
Walker283793
Talladega271437
Cullman255725
Lauderdale233842
Jackson219417
Autauga208231
Franklin206432
Colbert206032
Blount197225
Russell19603
Chilton190432
Dallas188127
Coffee180711
Dale178952
Covington175929
Escambia174931
Chambers136847
Clarke136617
Pike134514
Tallapoosa133987
Marion110331
Barbour10429
Marengo102622
Butler101241
Winston94013
Geneva9217
Lawrence86933
Pickens86918
Bibb85015
Randolph83516
Hale77730
Cherokee75614
Clay75312
Washington75112
Henry7236
Lowndes71628
Monroe65510
Bullock65017
Crenshaw60930
Perry5956
Fayette58913
Cleburne5739
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56513
Macon53920
Lamar5085
Sumter47421
Choctaw39312
Greene34616
Coosa2093
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