Los Angeles, United States | AFP | Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James aimed fresh criticism at US President Donald Trump on Monday as the NBA joined millions of Americans in remembering the legacy of civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Cavs’ prime-time clash with the Golden State Warriors later on Monday, James paid tribute to slain icon King while simultaneously accusing Trump of fueling divisions.
James, who described Trump as a “bum” last September after the US leader said the NBA champion Warriors would not be welcome at the White House, said the former reality television star had emboldened racists.
“The state of racism will never die, but what we cannot do is allow it to conquer us as people,” James told reporters following the Cavs shootaround.
“We can’t allow it to divide us… The guy in control has given people and racism, and negative racism, an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear.”
James, who has been a prominent social activist in recent years, added: “We are in a difficult state right now as Americans as well with the leader of our country.
“But us, like I said, no matter the religion, no matter the shapes and sizes, we all have to continue to come together and shine a brighter light on… I don’t want to use the word stupidity, but that’s basically what it comes down to,” he said.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, meanwhile, also spoke about the significance of playing on the Martin Luther King national holiday.
“I love what it means for the NBA and the country,” he said. “It’s become a great day for the NBA because we celebrate basketball, but what we’re really celebrating is equality and inclusion which is what the NBA represents.”