LeBron James on Donald Trump, Race Relations, Retirement - Rolling Stone
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LeBron James on Race Relations, Donald Trump, Retirement

“LeBron James owes nobody anything. Nobody”

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LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers on September 25, 2017.

Jason Miller/Getty Images

LeBron James doesn’t know exactly when he wants to retire. But he believes the “icing on the cake” will be fouling his 13-year-old son, LeBron James. Jr., six times in one game. 

The mortality of his career and joking about his kids was just one of many topics that James discussed in an interview with GQ magazine. He’s featured on the cover of the November issue, ranking atop GQ’s list of the 50 most influential athletes. James’ Cavaliers open the season on Tuesday night at home against the Eastern Conference rival Boston Celtics.

“LeBron James owes nobody anything. Nobody,” James said. “When my mother told me I don’t owe her anything, from that point in time, I don’t owe anybody anything. But what I will give to the city of Cleveland is passion, commitment and inspiration.”

James discussed his public distaste for President Donald Trump, whom he recently tweeted was a “bum” for his comments about Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors visiting the White House. He was asked if his crusade against the United States’ 45th President was his version of Muhammad Ali’s opinions of the Vietnam War. 

“I think Ali represented something bigger than Ali,” James said. “He wanted to make a change for a future without him included. That’s what Ali brought to the table. I don’t know what it’s like to live in every state in this country, but I know freedom … But Muhammad Ali’s correlation to the war … I don’t think me and Donald Trump could ever get to that point.”

James discussed a vandalism incident that happened to his California home this spring when a racial epithet was spray-painted on his gate. He said it forced him to have difficult conversations with his three children.

“And that shit puts it all back into perspective,” James said. “So do I use my energy toward that? Or do I now shed a light on how I can use this negative to turn into a positive, because so many people are looking for what I’m going to say. I had a conversation with my kids. I let them know this is what it is, this is how it’s going to be.”

He went on to say that he thought the open letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote upon James’ 2010 departure to the Miami Heat had racial undertones to it. It’s a letter that he says he still thinks about to this day. 

“… it pops in my head a few times here, a few times there,” James said. “I mean, it’s just human nature. I think that had a lot to do with race at that time.”

The comment might be awkward given that James is on the Cavaliers, and Gilbert, who has apologized, is still the owner. But James doesn’t mind being honest. He typically is honest, and this interview is a reflection of that. As he says, he doesn’t owe anyone anything.

But if there’s one thing he’d like to give, it’s a chance for his son to play against him in an NBA game. And he wouldn’t mind playing physical. 

“I’ll foul the shit out of him!” James told to GQ. “I’d give him all six fouls. I’d foul the shit out of Bronny, man.”

In This Article: Basketball, LeBron James, NBA


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