LeBron James, the basketball superstar called out President Donald Trump on Monday night for escalating racial tensions.
“He’s kinda used sports to kinda divide us,” James told CNN’s Don Lemon. “And that’s something that I can’t relate to because I know that sport was the first time I was around someone white.”
Trump has repeatedly slammed professional athletes, some for refusing to visit the White House as has been customary after championships, and others for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
“Sports has never been something that divides people,” said James. “It’s always been something that brings someone together.”
James also said that while racism has always been around, Trump has enabled some of the racists.
“The president in charge now has given people, they don’t care now ― they throw it in your face now,” he said.
Lemon asked James what he would say to Trump if he was sitting across the table from him.
“I would never sit across from him,” James said. “I’ve sit across from Barack [Obama] though.”
James, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers last month, was speaking to Lemon at the opening of the I Promise school for at-risk children, a joint venture between his foundation and Akron Public Schools.
*First reported by The Des Moines Register.