April 19, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

LeBron James’ scathing words about Trump, state of America

A day after a violent mob seeking to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election stormed the Capitol, Lakers star LeBron James unleashed a scathing rebuke of President Trump.

“The events that took place yesterday [were] a direct correlation, the president that’s in the seat right now, of his actions, his beliefs, his wishes,” James said of Trump following the Lakers game Thursday, a loss to the San Antonio Spurs. “He cares about nobody besides himself. Nobody. Absolutely nobody. He doesn’t care about this country. He doesn’t care about his family. … And we’ve seen the tweets that have happened along this whole path to the destruction of what happened yesterday.

“Those events were because of him.”

James, a critic of Trump since his election, said Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol was the response to the hatred sown by the president.

“You have these issues that we see in America. Like hate comes from the house. Everything that goes on comes from the household, of people just hating and hating and hating,” James said. “And, obviously, that came from the president in that house now.”

Players and coaches from around the league expressed their anger this week, not only with Trump, who has been a critic of athletes and their on-court activism, but with the decision in Wisconsin not to charge the policeman who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back during an attempted arrest in Kenosha last summer.

Lakers star Lebron James shares his thoughts on U.S Capitol riot and President Donald Trump: “We live in two Americas.”

Before Thursday’s game with the Spurs, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich took aim at Trump allies who tried to challenge the final electoral college tally, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

“Hawley’s a joke. This entitled, elite, educated person is really smart, just like Ted Cruz is smart, but they throw fuel onto Trump’s fire. They are worse than Trump because they are not sick,” Popovich said. “Mr. Trump is not a well man. These people are sane. But their self-interest, their greed, their lust for power outweighs their love of country or their sense of duty to the Constitution or to public service. And one would’ve thought with those instances yesterday, they might do a mea culpa like [GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia], even though it was hilarious also.

“But they doubled down and still went and did it as if we’re all stupid. Sometimes smart people think everybody else is stupid. And they don’t think that we can see that they did this for their own personal reasons so they can keep the base, but it’s going to backfire on them.”

Both James and Lakers co-star Anthony Davis spoke passionately about the disparity between the images from Black Lives Matter protests over the last eight months and those from Wednesday’s violence at the Capitol, where five people have died, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick.

Davis said he was frustrated during the game for a lot of reasons, and that frustration led to his knocking over a cart with a cooler on top during the second half of Thursday‘s game.

“Frustration from our defense tonight, frustration from me missing two free throws so I just … walked over and knocked a damn cart over. It was a combination of a lot of things,” he said.

James and Davis contrasted the photograph of a man smiling after grabbing a lectern inside the Capitol with one of a father and daughter standing in front of officers with weapons drawn during racial justice protests in Long Beach last May.

“It was, ‘Once the looting starts, the shooting starts,’” Davis said in reference to an infamous Trump tweet. “And to my knowledge, if you take something, you’re looting. And in that case, for them, they got escorted out the front door. And it’s just a slap in the face to us.

“It feels like we’re going backwards. We thought we were seeing change, and then this happens.”

James wore a shirt with the words “Do you understand now?” printed on the front. He had the same message written on his shoes.

When asked what he’d say to people who still don’t “understand,” James implored them to listen to Black voices.

“You don’t see the fact that when we walk out of our homes or we walk out of our project buildings or we walk out of our apartments that we’re scared to death right off the bat because we’re afraid of the police. And that’s just how I grew up,” James said. “When you see the police, you ran the other way. You didn’t feel like there was protection. You never felt like it was protection. We can’t make you understand.”

James vented about cultural appropriation and inequality while speaking mournfully about what American witnessed Wednesday.

“They’re going to say, ‘OK, you should shut up and dribble,’ which I’ve heard numerous times — but I’m never going to do that. I’m never going to do that. And they’re going to say, ‘You’ve got so many other opportunities, so many guys are in other leagues’ and stuff like that, but that’s just peanuts [compared] to what goes on in this country,” James said.

“Yesterday was just very shameful and, I’d just say, embarrassing to us. As an example, I grew up knowing that America was the land of the free and the home of the brave. And we’re setting the example for all these other countries in the world of how to run things and how to be great and how to, you know, maneuver and change the world and things of that nature.

“And yesterday, we looked like a third-, fourth- or fifth-world country. It’s just very embarrassing. I hope we can be better.”

James, who helped create More Than a Vote, a voting rights initiative, said steps forward were taken in November, when Biden and Kamala Harris defeated Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. But still, damage has been done, and in ways that can’t be fixed.

“The one thing you can’t get back in life, one thing you can never get back, and that’s time. Can’t get back time,” James said. “We’ve literally just [wasted] away four years. How do we recoup that?

“How do we recoup that?”