I continue to enjoy LeBron James, Kevin Durant and this current generation of athlete-activists. LeBron has done a lot in the past few years to speak out against racism and injustice, and he actively campaigned for Hillary Clinton last year. Following the Charlottesville terrorist attack, LeBron spoke out during an event for his charity, saying:
“I know there’s a lot of tragic things happening in Charlottesville. I just want to speak on it right now. I have this platform and I’m somebody that has a voice of command, and the only way for us to be able to get better as a society and us to get better as people is love. And that’s the only way we’re going to be able to conquer something at the end of the day. It’s not about the guy that’s the so-called president of the United States, or whatever the case. It’s not about a teacher that you don’t feel like cares about what’s going on with you every day. It’s not about people that you just don’t feel like want to give the best energy and effort to you. It’s about us. It’s about us looking in the mirror. Kids all the way up to the adults. It’s about all of us looking in the mirror and saying, ‘What can we do better to help change?’ And if we can all do that and give 110 percent … then that’s all you can ask for.”
“The so-called president…” I love LeBron for going out there and #NotMyPresident-ing. He also tweeted this: “Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!” LeBron “triggered” a lot of alt-right neo-Nazis babies and they were all yelling about him. What’s great is that other NBA players had his back. Kevin Durant has his ring now after a successful season with the Golden State Warriors, and it’s tradition for the NBA Champions to visit the White House. So far, the White House hasn’t invited the Warriors, possibly because the White House knows that few of the Warriors will show up. Durant was #NotMyPresident-ing too!
Kevin Durant says he won’t visit the White House with the Golden Star Warriors if the NBA champions are invited to meet President Donald Trump.
“Nah, I won’t do that,” Durant, the 2017 NBA Finals MVP told ESPN. “I don’t respect who’s in office right now.” Championship visits to the White House have become a regular occurrence in recent decades. But many champion athletes — including several New England Patriots players — have declared that they wouldn’t make the customary trip in protest of Trump’s administration. Durant is just the latest to voice his decision, and the NBA star said he’s sure his team will follow his lead.
“I don’t agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant told ESPN of Trump. “That’s just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they’ll agree with me.”
Durant told the publication that Trump’s rhetoric on the events in Charlottesville has led to increased racial tension in the country.
“He’s definitely driving it. I feel ever since he’s got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided, and it’s not a coincidence,” the athlete said. “So to see that and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top. Leadership trickles down to the rest of us … In my opinion, until we get him out of here, we won’t see any progress.”
It might seem like a no-brainer, or like a “water is wet, prominent African-American slams Donald Trump” kind of story. But keep in mind – generations of athletes were influenced by Michael Jordan’s “Republicans buy sneakers too” mindset of “don’t get involved in politics.” Athletes like LeBron James and Kevin Durant really are risking the wrath of fans, fewer endorsements and less money by speaking out in this kind of way. I love them though.
Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.