LeBron James made a statement when the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Washington Wizards in Washington, D.C. on Sunday by wearing one black sneaker and one white Nike sneaker – each with the word "Equality" stitched on the heel in gold lettering — during the first half. The NBA star was forthcoming about his motives when speaking to reporters after the game.
"Obviously we know where we are right now, and we know who's at the helm here," James said. "Us as Americans, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter who you are, I think we all have to understand that having equal rights and being able to stand for something and speak for something and keeping the conversation going [is important]."
James wore two black sneakers emblazoned with the word "Equality" in Cleveland’s season-opener against the Boston Celtics to "keep the conversation going." He posted a picture of them on Instagram after the game with the caption "Together we will persevere through all adversity, negativity and turn it into happiness and love! #LiveLaughLove #striveforgreatness🚀"
James has been openly critical of Donald Trump in the past. He called Trump a "bum" on Twitter before the season began when defending Stephen Curry and his decision to not visit the White House, telling POTUS "going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" It ended up being the seventh-most retweeted tweet of 2017. James then spoke about Trump at length at media day, saying "he doesn’t understand the power that he has," and that he wasn’t going to let him use sports as a platform to divide people.
"I've been very outspoken and well-spoken about the situation that is going on at the helm here," James continued on Sunday. "We're never going to let one person dictate us, as Americans, how beautiful and how powerful we are as a people. Equality is all about understanding our rights, understanding what we stand for and how powerful we are as men and as women, black or white or hispanic — it doesn't matter your race, whatever the case may be. This is a beautiful country, and we're never going to let one person dictate how beautiful and how powerful we are."