LeBron James joined the conversation about the national anthem protests across the NFL at NBA media day on Monday where he saluted the protesters and bashed Donald Trump without once calling him by name.
“First of all, I salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, the fans. Everyone who had any association with the NFL was unbelievable,” James said of the widespread protests on Sunday. “There was no divide. Even from that guy that continues to try to divide us as people.
Donald Trump addressed the national anthem protests during a rally in Alabama on Friday and also announced via Twitter that he was taking back his invitation for the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star tweeted about the president’s decision to rescind the Warriors invitation on Saturday, but spoke mostly about the national anthem protests on Monday.
LeBron James: “The people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him.” pic.twitter.com/b82ojpXkZt
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 25, 2017
“The thing that frustrated me, pissed me off: He was using the sports platform to divide us. Sports is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter shape, size, race. It brings people together like no other,” James said. “I’m not going to let one individual, no matter the power, the impact he should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us.”
“If you voted for him, you may have made a mistake,” James continued. “Can we sit up here and say I’m trying to make a difference? I want the best for the American people no matter the skin color, the race. We know this is the greatest country in the world. We still have problems, just like everybody else. The people run this country, not one individual, damn sure not him.”
“As I have this platform, I will lend my voice, my passion, my money to let these kids know there is hope, greater walks of life. No one individual can stop your dreams from being a reality,” he continued.
“My calling is much bigger than this guy,” James said, referring to Trump. “I don’t even like saying his name. While I have this platform, I will continue to inspire the state of Ohio not only by what I do on the floor but by putting 1,300 kids into school.”
Despite talking about the national anthem protests at length, James said he won’t be protesting the anthem in the NBA.
“My voice is more important than my knee. What I say, I think it should hit home for a lot of people. I don’t think I have to get on my knee to further my point.