INDEPENDENCE: LeBron James is continuing to lash out against President Donald Trump’s condemnation of NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem.

“The people run this country, not one individual, and damn sure not him,” James said during Media Day Monday at Cleveland Clinic Courts in Independence.

“I salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, the fans ... it was unbelievable, solidarity, there was no divide,” James said. “I’m not going to let one individual, no matter the power, ever use sport as platform to divide us.”

James said he loves the fact that the conversation about social injustices has started and wouldn’t be surprised if protests continue in the NBA if there is no change between now and Oct. 17.

“Even though this state voted for Trump, that doesn’t stop me from trying to inspire people,” James said. “My calling is much bigger than that guy. We all have the right to express our feelings. My voice is more important than my knee.”

He said he doesn’t believe he has to get on his knee to convey what he stands for.

“It’s about equality and people having freedom to speak about things not just,” James said, adding that it’s not disrespect of the flag or military.

James referred to Trump as a “bum” over the weekend in response to the President rescinding an invitation to the White House for the Golden State Warriors.

Trump rescinded the Warriors’ invitation after former Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry indicated that he didn’t want to go the White House.

“U bum #StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going!” James tweeted in a clear message to the president — a post that Twitter officials said was quickly shared many more times than any other he’s sent. “So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”

James said he didn’t regret calling Trump a bum, saying that if he did he would have deleted the tweet.

Trump also has drawn the ire of many pro athletes by calling for the firing of NFL players who kneel in protest to social injustices during the national anthem.

James released a video Saturday, saying Trump has tried to divide the country. “He’s now using sports as the platform to try to divide us,” James said. “We all know how much sports brings us together. ... It’s not something I can be quiet about.”

James has spoken out before in response to police brutality issues and openly endorsed Hillary Clinton in the presidential race.

Critics say Trump’s approach as a candidate and as president has at times seemed to inflame racial tensions in a deeply divided country while emboldening groups long in the shadows. Little more than a month ago, Trump came under fire for his response to a white supremacists’ protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump also pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, who had been found guilty of defying a judge’s order to stop racially profiling Latinos.

Trump’s latest entry into the intersection of sports and politics started in Alabama on Friday night, when he said NFL players who refused to stand for The Star-Spangled Banner are exhibiting a “total disrespect of our heritage.”

Several NFL players, starting last season with then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have knelt, sat or raised fists during the anthem to protest police treatment of blacks and social injustice.

“That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” Trump said, encouraging owners to act. He added, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.’ ”

On Saturday, Trump echoed his stance.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” Trump tweeted. “If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell strongly backed the players and criticized Trump for “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL” while several team owners issued similar statements. New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said the comments were inappropriate and offensive. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who has supported the players who have knelt, said the country “needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.