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During perhaps the most powerful press conference of his career, LeBron James compared people who voted for Donald Trump as president to an infamous draft decision by Portland Trail Blazers.
James, who called Trump a “bum” on Saturday after Trump rescinded the Golden State Warriors’ invitation to the White House, spoke at length on Monday about Trump, national anthem protests, and the state of the country.
James chided Trump, saying he is trying to divide people and doesn’t understand the power of the presidency.
James said that people who voted for Trump made a mistake and suggested it was related to a lack of education about the issues. He then compared Ohio voting for Trump to the Trailblazers drafting Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA draft.
“I don’t think a lot of people was educated,” James said. “And I think that’s one of the biggest problems when it becomes vote time is that people are just not educated on either the individual or what’s going on … I don’t think a lot of people are educated, and they make choices and say things that’s uneducated. Am I saying that the people of Ohio wasn’t educated and some of the people in the other states that voted for him was uneducated? They could have been or they could not have been, but that doesn’t mean it was the right choice.
“You can go back in the history of time of sports and say the same thing because we keep bringing sports and politics into it, so you could look back at some of the greatest drafts of all-time and say that, ‘Okay, did the Trail Blazers make the right choice when they took Sam Bowie?’ I mean, can we all stand up here and say they should have took Michael Jordan?”
James said even though Ohio voted for Trump, it would be wrong for him to turn his back and not continue to try and help the state through his off-the-court work.
“For me as a professional athlete in this state, and even though this state voted for Trump, that doesn’t stop me from inspiring the people of the state and inspiring the youth,” James said.
James also said that he respects the NFL players protesting the national anthem and said if he owned an NFL team, he would sign Colin Kaepernick “today.” However, he also said he doesn’t plan to protest or take a knee during the anthem this season, saying he believes his time and resources could be put to better use off of the court.
The NBA season has only just begun, and from the sounds of it, this won’t be the last time James speaks out against Trump.