Cleveland James superstar LeBron James was again critical of President Donald Trump while speaking to reporters on Monday, suggesting that Trump has emboldened racists, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com:
"The state of racism will never die, but what we cannot do is allow it to conquer us as people. We can't allow it to divide us. ... The guy in control has given people and racism, and negative racism, an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear. And that's the fearful thing for us because it's with you, and it's around every day, but he's allowed people to come out and just feel confident about doing negative things. ... We can't allow that to stop us from continuing to be together and preach the right word of livin' and lovin' and laughin' and things of that nature. Because would we want to live anywhere else? I don't think so. We love this place."
Trump has come under fire most recently after reportedly describing Haiti and some African nations as "s--thole countries." Trump has denied those comments, telling reporters, "No, I'm not a racist. I'm the least racist person you have ever interviewed," per Anne Gearan of the Washington Post.
Several senators in the meeting with Trump when he reportedly made those remarks have publicly stated that the reports are accurate, according to CNN.com, while other lawmakers at the meeting have denied the reports.
James, meanwhile, continued his criticism of Trump.
"We are in a difficult state right now as Americans as well with the leader of our country," he said. "But us, like I said, no matter the religion, no matter the shapes and sizes, we all have to continue to come together and shine a brighter light on, you know, I mean, [I don't want to] use the word stupidity, but that's basically what it comes down to."
It wasn't the first time James has publicly decried Trump. In August, he called him the "so-called President of the United States" following Trump's divisive "blame on both sides" comments following the violent Charlottesville protests.
He also called him a "bum" in September after Trump withdrew his invitation to the champion Golden State Warriors once star point guard Steph Curry made it clear he wasn't interested in going to the White House with Trump in office:
James wasn't the only NBA figure to offer a rebuke of Trump on Monday. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich appeared to call out Trump for his "I'm not a racist" comments, per KL Chouinard of Hawks.com:
The NBA's players and coaches have been outspoken against Trump's presidency. Following James' and Popovich's remarks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it appears unlikely that trend will end so long as Trump remains in office.