Screenshot from ABC Tampa Bay

LeBron James Says 'Trump Uses Sports to Divide Us'

After celebrating the opening of his STEM-based I Promise School for at-risk youth, LeBron James took direct shots at President Trump’s leadership while speaking with CNN’s Don Lemon.

On Monday, the mega-athlete and humanitarian
held nothing back during his discussion with Lemon. He candidly shared his thoughts about Trump and what it means to be Black in America.

“What I’ve noticed over the past few months [is] he’s kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to,” James said.

Pointing out the negative pot-stirring created by Trump regarding Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest and even Stephen Curry’s decision to skip a recent opportunity to visit the White House, James said that he can’t just “sit back and say nothing.”

According to the three-time NBA champion from Akron, Ohio, playing sports and being on a team is what gave him access to learn about different races and cultures, which he wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

“Sports was the first time I was ever around someone white,” he said. “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.'”

Being Black in America is Tough

Despite his poster being plastered on walls, his name being echoed throughout stadiums, and even a
recent inking of $153.3 million to play alongside the L.A. Lakers for four years, James says it doesn’t change anything and that America will always confine him to being that of the “N-word.”

“No matter how big you can become, no matter how successful you are, no matter what you do in the community, no matter what you do in your profession, you know, being an African American in America is tough and they always [are going to] let you know that you are the N-word no matter who you are,” James told CNN.

And that drive to prove naysayers wrong is what has allowed for James to establish himself as a champion not only on the court, but off the court as well. The areas beyond court lines include his I Promise School in Akron, which has 240 third and fourth graders currently enrolled, and a goal of 1,000 students to be enrolled from first through eighth grade, by 2022.

The program, a joint partnership between the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools, is a defining moment in James’ career. The ability to give back to his hometown with a “wraparound” service school, helps to reduce stress kids might feel due to their parents who may be
struggling financially, according to the L.A. Times.

“The kids talk to me,” James said, who nearly got held back in the fourth grade for missing 83 days of school. “I am one of them.”

According to reports, every student will receive a bicycle and a Chromebook to manage their homework. And aside from underprivileged children benefitting from the program, their parents can as well.

The program includes both family services and job resources, a GED program, a food pantry that allows easy access to shop, and housing assistance should parents need it.

When reflecting on his ability to manifest the unthinkable and now witnessing the appreciation from others due to his pay-it-forward approach, the athlete told Lemon, “Yes this is why we did it.”

And when asked by the CNN host if he would be up for running for office if there was no one else running against Trump, the 6-foot-8 foot, newly inducted Lakers forward smiled and said, “Well in that case, I may.”

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