LeBron James’ very public war of words with President Donald Trump has been a much-discussed topic over the past four years. It has involved the Los Angeles Lakers star referring to the President as a “bum” on social media, and featured multiple shots fired by the POTUS in James’ general direction regarding the NBA’s struggling TV ratings and him not being as good as Michael Jordan.
This week, James sat down for an interview during which he discussed his beef with President Trump and where all parties involved go from here.
“What is most important to you come Election Day?” Astead W. Herndon of the New York Times asked the reigning NBA Finals MVP. “Is it greater participation from Black voters? Is it the removal of President Trump, who I know you’ve had some back-and-forth with?”
James didn’t hesitate.
“I define success by our people going out and voting,” he replied.
“You know, there’s so many stats out there, you can see it every time. Who didn’t vote? What counties didn’t vote? What communities didn’t vote? And a lot of that has had to do with our Black people. So, hopefully, we can get them out and educated and let them understand how important this moment is,” he continued.
“I don’t go back and forth with anybody. And I damn sure won’t go back and forth with that guy. But we want better, we want change in our community. We always talk about, ‘We want change,’ and now we have the opportunity to do that.”
Herndon then followed up by asking why James has been less vocal about the specific candidate on the Democrat side this time around, Joe Biden, and more outspoken regarding the voting process in general.
“Last election cycle, you campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Ohio,” Herndon said. “This time, you’ve focused more on issues rather than an individual candidate. Can you explain to me the thinking behind that shift?”
For James, it just came down to what the moment called for.
“I don’t want to say it’s a shift,” he replied.
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 21, 2020
“It’s just what needed to be done at this point in time. We’ve been talking about voter suppression, we’ve been talking about police brutality, systemic racism. We’ve had so many things going on, and voter suppression in our communities happens to be at the forefront. So that’s something we wanted to educate our people on.”
Above all else, James reaffirmed that what he wanted to see most was black people getting out and voting.
“It’s simple,” he said. “We believe that Black people, our community, we’ve been pushed away from our civic duty. We’ve been fed misinformation for many years. And I’m in a position where I can educate people and, through More Than a Vote, educate people on how important this movement is, and how important their civic duty is. Not only to empower themselves, but to give back to their community as well.
This conversation took a weird turn. https://t.co/tiGtaKnSvy
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 20, 2020
“It’s something that we’re very passionate about — that I’m very passionate about. I’m happy and honored that I can have these athletes and these influencers and the people that want to be engaged with me as well.”
With the 2020 Presidential Election just weeks away, it’s safe to assume that political chatter from athletes representing both sides of the political spectrum will kick into overdrive.
For news junkies, this will no doubt be a fun ride. For everyone else – not so much.