WASHINGTON: LeBron James called on Americans to do their part in making America great, but wouldn’t commit to visiting the White House again under a Donald Trump administration.
James and the Cavs celebrated their championship at the White House with President Barack Obama on Thursday, but if they win another title in the next four years, James may not attend the presidential ceremony.
“I don’t know. That’s something I would cross,” James said Friday. “We’ll have to cross that road, I guess. We’ll see. I would love to have to cross that road.”
James won three championships while Obama was in office and visited the White House after every win. He endorsed and campaigned for Hillary Clinton prior to Tuesday’s election in part because of his dislike of Trump. He denounced Trump’s treatment of women during the campaign and said Friday he stayed up until 4 a.m. with his wife watching the returns on election night. Despite his endorsement and attendance at a Clinton rally in the days before the election, Trump won Ohio after Obama carried it in 2008 and 2012.
“It’s difficult watching, period,” James said. “It’s very difficult seeing what happened not only in our state but our country. It is what it is. That’s the past. We’ve got to live in the present and (figure out) how we can make the future better.”
James isn’t alone in his thinking. While coach Tyronn Lue said Thursday he'd be happy to return for another visit, veteran Richard Jefferson joked on Snapchat after the election that the Cavs would be the last team to visit the White House. Jefferson, however, predicted Friday future players may avoid visiting Trump, whose campaign was blamed for heightening social and racial tensions. The NBA is comprised of 85-90 percent African-Americans, Lue estimated.
“I just look across this league, there’s been other players with ‘scheduling conflicts’ as they like to call it, not necessarily a political stance. But I could see other ‘scheduling conflicts’ coming up,” Jefferson said. “More than anything, you have to respect the presidency. If you have different views, you’re allowed to have different views. That’s what’s amazing about this country. We’re not going to imprison people with different views. But if you want to stand up and you want to say, ‘Hey look, my views don’t coincide with this current administration,’ then you have opportunities, especially being leaders in your respective communities.”
James has developed a friendship with Obama during his time in office and expects that to continue even after the president departs in January. As for a Trump administration, James said it’s up to the people.
“He’s our president. And no matter if you agree with it or disagree with it, he’s the guy and we all have to figure out a way that we can make America as great as it can be,” James said. “We all have to do our part. Our nation has never been built on one guy, anyway. It’s been built on multiple guys, multiple people in power, multiple people having a dream and making it become a reality by giving back to the community, giving back to the youth, doing so many great things.
“Obviously we always had a guy that has the No. 1 position of power, and that’s the President of the United States, but it’s never been built on one guy. So we all have to figure out a way that we can better our country because we all know that and we all feel it. This is the best country in the world, so we all have to do our part. It’s not about him at all. Especially not for me and what I do.”