LeBron James has made it clear that he has no concern for the slights and jabs from Donald Trump, preferring to turn public interest in their non-feud into focus on his community activism work instead.
In a new interview with The New York Times, James was asked about his efforts to get out the vote and whether he viewed success as the removal of President Trump, whom he’s “had some back-and-forth with.”
“I define success by our people going out and voting. … I don’t go back and forth with anybody,” he said in the Oct. 21 article. “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. “
James, who just won his fourth NBA championship, has been a focus of Trump, the Los Angeles County sheriff, and other right-leaning commentators due to his dedication to and endorsement of Black Lives Matter and his vocal criticisms of the various police shootings of unarmed Black people.
Trump slammed James this month for his outspokenness and activism, saying, “He’s a great basketball player, but people don’t want to see a guy that’s that way. They don’t want to see that. … He’s a hater,” Trump said. “You don’t want to sit down, watch a basketball game, and then watch somebody that hates your guts, OK,” he continued.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva challenged James to double a reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of the man who shot two police officers who were sitting in their patrol car.
He said, “We need to appreciate that respect for life across professions, across races, creeds, and I’d like to see LeBron James step up to the plate and double that.”
Upon the shooting of the deputies, far-right critics like Candace Owens blamed the attack on Black Lives Matter, celebrities and athletes. James was targeted as the main culprit, despite the fact that no suspect had been identified and there was no known motive for the incident.
James had “zero comment” about the sheriff’s remarks before later expounding on ESPN, “But not one time have I ever said, ‘Let’s act violent toward cops.’ I just said that what’s going on in our community is not OK, and we fear for that, and we fear for our lives. It’s something that we go on every single day as a Black man and a Black woman and a Black kid, a Black girl. We fear. We fear that moment when we’re pulled over.”
In light of refusing to answer his opposition, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar has turned his energies to the 2020 election, and his organization More Than a Vote, whose mission is to exhort potential Black voters to cast their ballots.
“It’s simple. We believe that Black people, our community, we’ve been pushed away from our civic duty,” James said to The New York Times. “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.”
He added, “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.”