NBA Commissioner Adam Silver praised Kevin Durant and LeBron James for their responses to Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who said on her show that players like Durant and James should "keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble," rather than express their opinions publicly (h/t USA Today's Scott Gleeson).
"I was proud of Kevin and LeBron's response to the comments that were made about them," Silver said, per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Ingraham's comments came in response to James and Durant offering a critical take on President Donald Trump on an Uninterrupted video posted on Thursday.
"The No. 1 job in America, the appointed person, is someone who doesn't understand the people," James said of Trump in the video. "And really don't give a f--k about the people."
Durant added: "When we're talking about leadership, and what's going on in our country, it's all about leadership. And I learned that playing basketball. I learned a lot of life skills from playing basketball. You need to empower people, you need to encourage people. And that's what builds a great team. And I feel like our team, as a country, is not ran by a great coach."
Ingraham responded on her show, going so far as to insult James for jumping straight to the NBA from high school.
"Look, there might be a cautionary lesson in LeBron for kids: This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA," she said (h/t Gleeson). "And it's always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball."
But James decided to ignore Ingraham's advice to "shut up and dribble," per Michael Singer of USA Today:
"I actually laughed first when I first saw the reports and then I watched the video and I saw exactly how it was put off. Well first of all, I had no idea who she is or what she do. So she won in that case because now I know who she is.
"...We're back to everything I've been talking about for the last few years. It lets me know that everything I've been saying is correct for her to have that type of reaction. But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to society, I mean too much to the youth, I mean too much to so many kids that feel like they don't have a way out and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation they're in."
"Ignorance is something I try to ignore," he said, per Sam Amick of USA Today. "That was definitely an ignorant comment. I do play basketball, but I am a civilian and I am a citizen of the United States, so my voice is just as loud as hers, I think—or even louder."
"... It's just sad to see people who think that way," he added. "It's weird. It's not even a place where we should be as humans. ... To me, it was racist. What does (skin color) have to do with anything? We all have an opinion, just like she has an opinion that I disagree with."
Ingraham said in a statement that her comments weren't racist.