"I really don't think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game," LeBron James said on Wednesday night

By Jason Duaine Hahn
August 06, 2020 02:01 PM
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LeBron James isn't losing sleep over President Donald Trump saying he won't watch NBA games if players continue to protest during the national anthem.

During an interview with Fox News this week, Trump called NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the anthem, saying that the act causes him to "turn off the game."

"We work with [the NBA]. We work very hard trying to get them open," Trump said. "I was pushing them to get open. And then I see everyone kneeling during the anthem. It's not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game."

"The ratings for the basketball are way down, as you know," the president added, according to Yahoo Sports. He continued, "We have to stand up for our flag. We have to stand up for our country. We have to stand up for our anthem. And a lot of people agree with me. Hey, if I’m wrong, I’m going to lose an election. Okay. And that’s okay with me. But I will always stand for our country and for our flag."

When asked about the president's comments after the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, James said he and his peers don't care if Trump tunes in to watch or not.

"I really don't think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game," James said, according to ESPN.

"And that's all I got to say," he added.

LeBron James and fellow Lakers players kneel for the national anthem
Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Instead of diving more into Trump's comments, James instead spoke about the importance of voting in the upcoming presidential election Nov. 3.

"I think our game is in a beautiful position and we have fans all over the world and our fans not only love the way we play the game, we try to give it back to them with our commitment to the game," James said. "But also respect what else we try to bring to the game and acknowledge it — what's right and what's wrong."

"I hope everyone, no matter the race, no matter the color, no matter the size, will see what leadership that we have at the top in our country and understand that November is right around the corner and it's a big moment for us as Americans," he continued. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that. But the game will go on without his eyes on it. I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball: We could [not] care less."

In June, James formed the non-profit More Than a Vote with the aim of stopping voter suppression and motivating black voters to go to the polls this year.

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More Than a Vote was founded in the wake of national protests against police misconduct that followed the May 25 killing of George Floyd.

Contrary to Trump's comments, the NBA experienced a rise in ratings last week, bringing in more than 2.9 million viewers on TNT for their first games, according to ESPN.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.