LeBron on Trump: 'The People Run This Country, Not One Individual, and Damn Sure Not Him'

At Cleveland Cavs media day this afternoon LeBron James wanted to clarify his comments over the weekend regarding President Donald Trump, which had come in the form of a tweet and a video about the President's attacks on athletes such as Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry. Here's what LeBron had to say:
"I salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, the fans, anyone who had association with the NFL yesterday was unbelievable. There was no divide. Even from that guy (Trump) who continues to try to divide us as people....the thing that pissed me off a couple of days ago is that he used the sport platform to try to divide us and sport is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter the shape, size, race, ethnicity or religion...and it brings people together like none other, and I'm not gonna let, while I have this platform, to let one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact that he or she should have, use sport as a platform to divide us.

"No matter if you voted for him or not - you may have made a mistake, and that's OK, if you voted for him, and that's OK, I've made a mistake, I've given my daughter too many damn Skittles, maybe I shouldn't have done that, she won't go to sleep now. Can we sit up here and say that we're trying to make a difference? Can we sit up here and say that I'm trying to make a difference? Can we sit up here and say that I can look at myself in the mirror and say that I want the best for the American people, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter how tall or athletic you are...can you sit up here and say you're trying to make a difference? Because we know that this is the greatest country in the world, the land of the free, but we still have problems just like everybody else, and when we have those problems, we have to figure out a way for us to come together and be as great as we can be. Because the people run this country, not one individual, and damn sure not him.

"As I have this platform, and I have a way to inspire people, I will lend my voice, I will lend my passion, I will lend my money, I will lend my resources, to my youth in my city and my inner city to let these kids know that there is hope, there's greater walks of life, and not one individual, whether it's the President of the United States or someone in your household that'll stop your dreams from becoming a reality."

On if LeBron regrets calling Trump a "bum": "No. Me and my friends call each other that all the time, but he's not my friend. It's like if you invited me to your party, and I said, 'Tom (Withers), hey, I'm not going to be able to make it, and then you said, 'Guess what, LeBron, you're not invited.' I wasn't coming anyways. So that was funny to me when I woke up and saw that and my first initial response was, 'You bum.'

"He doesn't understand the power that he has, being the leader of this free country, how many kids, no matter the race, look up to the President of the United States, for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement. He doesn't understand that. That's what makes me more sick than anything. Being the President of the United States is the most powerful position in the world, and we're at a time where the most powerful position in the world has a opportunity to bring us closer together as a people, and inspire the youth, and put the youth at ease, by saying that it's OK for me to walk down the street and not be judged because of the color of my skin or because of my race. And he has no recollection of that. And he doesn't even care...So do I take away 'you bum'? No, because if I did, I would've deleted my tweet."

On saying that people made a mistake if they voted for Trump, while recognizing that the state he plays in voted for Trump: "I don't think a lot of people were (sic) educated. When it becomes vote time, people are just not educated on either the individual or what's actually going on in the state of the world right now. I don't think people are educated and they make choices and say things that are uneducated. Am I saying that the people of Ohio weren't (sic) educated, or that other states that voted for him weren't educated? They could have been or they could not have been, but that doesn't mean it was the right choice.

"You can go into the history of sports and say did the Trailblazers make the right choice when they took Sam Bowie? Or can we all sit up here and say they should've taken Michael Jordan? For me, as a professional athlete in this state, even thought this state voted for Trump, that doesn't stop me inspiring the people of this state, and inspiring the youth. Because I'd be even more wrong if I started to down the people of Ohio. That doesn't make sense. Because my job, and my calling is much bigger than that guy. 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 also by putting 1,300 kids through school and spending almost $45 million dollars."

On the history of black athletes speaking out and his thoughts on potentially losing money by speaking out: "I can only speak for myself. I definitely know the people that have paved the way for myself today. You talk about guys like Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Bill Russell, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Austin Carr. These guys paved the way for guys like myself, where I can feel confident in my words. I can feel confident about what I say and hopefully it hits home for somebody. I don't really get involved in the money issue. I'm doing OK for myself...but even if we weren't doing OK financially, I would still try to find a way to better the youth and inspire the youth."

On if he would ever take a knee during the National Anthem if things don't change for the better: "We all have the right to express our feelings...and I can respect my teammate or respect that from anybody in the league. For me personally, my voice...is more important than my knee...what I say, I think it should hit home for a lot of people and know where I stand. I don't think I have to get down on my knee for me to even further what I'm talking about...I don't down anybody that's doing it in the NFL."

On kneeling and Colin Kaepernick, "I salute Colin Kaepernick for being as powerful as he was and being the one that had to fall on the sword, unfortunately. And I hate that...I wish I owned an NFL team right now, I'd sign him (Kaepernick) today. But I'm not. But I think my voice and what I do in my community and what I stand for, I don't think I have to show you guys more by getting on a knee or doing something else...but it's powerful what these athletes are doing. We even had the first baseball player do it two nights ago...that's phenomenal. I commend these guys and I commend anyone that's trying to make a difference."

More on kneeling: "It's not about the disrespect of the flag and anybody that has made the world free. It is about equality, and people having the option and the freedom to speak about things that's not just (sic). It's not about the disrespect of the flag. And I hope that if anybody here have..any family members in the military or any family that have tried to save this world - because I do not, I have no family members (in the military) - but I do understand that this is not a disrespect to the men and women that have served our world to help us become free. It's not about that. And the people that's trying to divide us are the ones that are saying it's a disrespect to the military, and it's not about that. That's the furthest thing from what it's about."

On Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert being a financial supporter of Trump and visiting the White House this past June, where Trump called Gilbert a friend "We haven't discussed it...it has no impact. When you put yourself in a position, to stand next to him, if you stand next to that guy, he'll say you're close friends. Even if he doesn't even know you. That's how irrational his mind is. I can't speak for Dan, he's own man...for me, as a player of this franchise, I just have to continue to do what I can do to help better this team, better the conversation and continue to inspire. It hasn't changed my relationship and it hasn't changed my outlook on the situation."
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