Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday that he sometimes feels like the country under President Donald Trump is “going back to places of… some kind of slavery or Jim Crow.”
Lemon asked the three-time NBA champion who has appeared in the last eight NBA Finals if he ever looks around and gets “down and depressed” when he “see’s what’s happening in the country” or thinks “we’re going backwards.”
Yes. Absolutely. I mean, that is human nature. There is no way that you can look at certain things and not feel like, why are we not pushing forward? You know, for me, as one of the leaders of America or one of the leaders of my community, it’s my responsibility to kind a stay as positive as I can and continue to let people know that we can go further up and not down even though sometimes we do feel like we’re going backwards and even though we feel like we are going back to places of—some kind of slavery or Jim Crow and things of that nature, you don’t—you just want to kind of continue to move forward and I think it is very important for all of us.
Lemon was in Akron, Ohio, to interview James about the opening of his innovative and widely-acclaimed I Promise School for at-risk students that has the potential to be a model for public non-charter-school reform.
But Lemon spent a considerable amount of time pushing his network’s anti-Trump agenda and trying to get James to pile on with him. Lemon got James to say that Trump has given license for people to throw the racism that has always been in America “in your face now.” The CNN host also ridiculously asked James, who many believe wants to stay in the NBA long enough to play with his son, if he would consider challenging Trump for the presidency if nobody else could defeat Trump.
When Lemon asked James if the country can “get back from this craziness that is going on,” James said he thinks the nation will come back but it might not be during his lifetime, saying, “It’s not going to be today. It’s not going to be tomorrow. It’s not going to be next month.”
“It will be an ongoing thing. It might be after me, you, or we are all gone,” James said. “But if we can look at the positive things then we can figure it out.”
After blasting Trump for using “sports to kinda divide us,” James also told Lemon that he “would never sit across from him.”
James added that he will try to follow in Martin Luther King’s and Muhammad Ali’s footsteps and use “adversity” to “be more powerful” and influential.
“If we look at some of the greatest leaders of our time, you look at, you know, Muhammad Ali, you look at Dr. Martin Luther King, and all the adversity they went through,” James continued. “They always use it to say ‘OK, this is even more motivation, this is even more a way for me to even be more powerful.’ And… they’re the reason why we are here today.”