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: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 38°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 40°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather

Most Popular Stories