LeBron James: We elected a president ‘who speaks in a disrespectful way a lot’


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As I’m sure everyone knows by now, LeBron James was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year. The Cavaliers won the championship, LeBron got another ring and it just feels like LeBron has really come into his own as a political advocate and activist. He endorsed Hillary Clinton, he spoke out about Black Lives Matter, and he donated millions of dollars to the Muhammed Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian. And that’s just this year. He’s also pledged tens of millions of dollars to ensure that at-risk Ohio kids get a college education.

As for LeBron’s political activism, note the fact that he’s wearing a HUGE safety pin on his lapel on the SI cover. You know what that means, and I love that he’s giving a signal to all of the allies out there. In the SI interview, he also discussed what it was like to publicly endorse Hillary Clinton, and how he feels about Donald Trump’s victory. You can read the full profile here (it’s a really good read and I totally cried). Some highlights:

On the decision to speak at a Clinton rally: He decided that if the race was close at the end, and he could make a difference, he’d muster a few words. “I get nervous,” James admits. “People give me notes, bullet points, but I don’t know what I’m going to say. I just talk from the heart.”

What Clinton said to him: “As big as you are, as busy as you are, it humbles me that you’d take the time to do this,” Clinton tells James, when they meet backstage. “Of course,” James responds.

What he felt watching Trump win on Election Night: “When I was growing up, I didn’t have my father, so you looked up to people in positions of power. It could be athletes or actors or leaders, like presidents. I think parents could use some of those people as role models. But when we elect a president who speaks in a disrespectful way a lot, I don’t know that we can use him in our household.” The next morning, James and Savannah ate breakfast, before the Cavaliers flew to D.C. for their championship ceremony with President Barack Obama. “I think we’re going to have to do more,” he told his wife. “I think we’re going to have to step it up more.”

His form of activism: “I understand protests, but I think protests can feel almost riotous sometimes, and I don’t want that. I want it to be more about what I can do to help my community, what we can do so kids feel like they’re important to the growth of America, and not like: ‘These people don’t care about us.’ I’m not here to stomp on Trump. We’re here to do our part, which starts in the place we grew up, street by street, brick by brick, person by person.”

[From Sports Illustrated]

I should say that even though LeBron sounds like he might be on the verge of “give Trump a chance,” if you read the whole piece, it’s clear that he does not feel that way at all. He just doesn’t want any violence, but he clearly despises everything about Trump and he seems to be making a commitment to becoming even more active, even more outspoken.

A week ago, it was reported that LeBron had decided to never stay in a Trump-owned or Trump-branded hotel again, starting now. Whenever he’s in New York (on business or pleasure), he will not stay at the Trump Soho hotel. He confirmed that news but he said “It’s just my personal preference” and he wasn’t “trying to make a statement.” Er, that is a statement. And you should stick with it, King James.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, cover courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

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13 Responses to “LeBron James: We elected a president ‘who speaks in a disrespectful way a lot’”

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  1. Kelly says:

    Not a basketball fan, but he is such a lovely person.

  2. Abigail says:

    I had not known about the safety pin–thanks for the information.
    And he’s great.

    • Jennifer Jones says:

      I ordered three safety pins that are coated in enamel and benefit a charity that is against bullying. I gave one to my daughter who wears it on her purse. We live in Atlanta which is a very diverse city and typically everyone gets along with each other. However, if there should come a time when that is not the case, we will not stand idly by.

  3. Nicole says:

    Not always a Lebron fan but he’s made several great statements in this election year that I applaud him for.

  4. Sunnydaze says:

    I don’t follow athletes but even I know he’s a big deal…thought he was hilarious in Trainwreck and really enjoyed his involvement with Nicole Curtis on Rehab Addict where he and his wife were refinishing homes for his foundation. He seems like a good guy, we could definitely stand to see more athletes like him!

  5. Tough Cookie says:

    My elderly mother loves him so much she has a framed photo of him on the coffee table next to pics of me and my siblings LOL.
    I admire him more and more.

  6. lem says:

    Lebron has grown up so much and does so much for the community in NE Ohio. While I think he very much walks a line when discussing politics b/c he’s currently an extension of the Cavaliers franchise, I also think he’s extremely methodical in the way he wants to address the issues. He literally puts his money where his mouth is and DOES what a lot of others just talk about. His work with the children in the city of Akron is beyond amazing.

  7. Just me says:

    I am from NE Ohio and I have to give LeBron so much credit. He has not turned his back on his community and has always gone above and beyond to give back to the youth of Akron, especially. He is definitely an athlete who has used his status to build up others and advocate for social justice issues in a polite, calm manner. I’m guessing his position with the NBA may limit how much he can speak his mind, but he comes across as very respectful and poised anyway.

  8. Sigh says:

    Amazing man. He’s just a stellar human being and his 3 game performance in the NBA Finals was the stuff of legend. But really just the cherry on top of what a great person he is. He talks the talk and walks the walk in an age where it’s so rare for someone in entertainment to do so.

    (Simone Biles was the Sportswoman of the Year as well, so I doff my cap to her as well.)

  9. moomoo says:

    I don’t follow sports and actually thought he is a football player. But no matter, I love him and his calm and reasonable way of expressing what really needs to be said. I hope people will listen to him. It seems he appreciates that trump-a-loonies will extrapolate every instance of liberal riotous behavior or violence to the entire liberal movement. Agree with Michelle Obama that we must all take the high road, if only to avoid getting mired in criticism of a few, non-representative, bad apples in the liberal movement. Sometimes that is really hard to do in the face of overt hate and aggression.

  10. Lucinda says:

    THIS is the kind of rhetoric we need. A shift from protesting and a focus on building, brick by brick. Love this.

  11. Sunshine Gold says:

    I always thought he was a huge egomaniac (from that stupid live ESPN special about which team he was choosing), but he seems pretty thoughtful and engaged, which we are in short supply of these days. All for it.

  12. Nona says:

    Just when I thought I couldn’t love him more …