LeBron James criticized President Trump on Monday, accusing him of trying to divide the country by using sports as his focal point.
The new Los Angeles Lakers star said Trump created a wedge by capitalizing on the controversy surrounding former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem.
“[Trump is] dividing us and what I’ve noticed over the last few months,” James told CNN before the official opening of his I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. “He’s kinda used sport to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white and I got the opportunity to see them and learn about them and they got an opportunity to learn about me and we became very good friends.”
He continued: “Sports has never been something that divides people it’s always been something that brings someone together.”
The three-time NBA champion was also asked whether he’d sit down with Trump, who James once called a “bum” for disinviting Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry from the White.
“I would never sit across from him. I’d sit across from Barack though,” he replied.
James opened up the I Promise School on Monday, describing it as the most meaningful moment of his career. He told ESPN he wants “to create an environment of family and not like a workplace.”
“Sometimes you can get tired if you look at it like work — you kind of get tired of it. We want to create an environment of family where you want to always be around your family,” he said.