After the Cavaliers’ shootaround ahead of their marquee matchup with the Warriors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, James reflected on the legacy of the civil rights leader 50 years after his assassination, while continuing his criticism of President Trump.
“For us to stand here even though we’re trying to be divided right now by somebody, today is a great day for people to realize how America was built and how we all have to stand united in order to be at one,” James said, per Cleveland.com. “Especially as Americans because we believe, we all know and we all believe, this is the greatest country in the world.”
James credited the NBA for keeping its traditional of a full slate of games on MLK Day as a tribute “for a man who stood for more than himself.”
“You always hear people saying ‘risking their life.’ He actually gave up his life for the betterment of all of us to be able to live in a free world and for us to be able to have a voice, for us to go out and be free no matter your skin color, no matter who you are,” James said. “He had a vision and took a bullet for all of us, literally, in the rawest form that you could say that.”
James said this year’s holiday is especially important in light of how Trump has handled current race relations as President.
-Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere- Our Lives Begin To End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter- #ThankYouMLK50
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 15, 2018
The four-time MVP also discussed his recent visit to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, which is built around the Lorraine Motel, where King was shot and killed on April 4, 1968.
“It was a very eerie and powerful impact,” he said. “To be able to be there at that hotel, at that site where he was assassinated was a very eerie feeling and very powerful feeling at the same time. To be able to grace a part of the movement, be a part of the movement. You kind of felt that. I’m looking forward to the opportunity where I can take my kids there and they can completely understand what they’re actually witnessing.”
James added that he thinks about how King would regard his own social activism.
“I hope I could make him proud or made him proud,” he said. “Just taking what he was able to give to us and give us that type of empowerment, give us that type of strength to be able to go out and talk about things that really matter. Be able to live for something that’s more than you as an individual. So hopefully I would be one of those guys that made him proud. Hopefully I’m making him proud still with him looking down on us.”