LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — LeBron James told reporters Wednesday night that the NBA won’t miss the viewership of President Donald Trump.
The comments came in response to President Trump’s interview with Fox News on Wednesday morning where he said that he finds it “disgraceful” when athletes kneel during the national anthem and that he turns off the game when it happens.
James was asked about those comments following the Lakers’ Wednesday night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He said that he doesn’t believe the basketball community will miss the viewership.
“I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game,” said James. “And that’s all I got to say.”
L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers expressed a similar sentiment during the course of his session with reporters Wednesday saying, “Well, we lost one guy. I mean, so what? Like really, I don’t even care. We know that justice is on our side, right?”
LeBron, meanwhile, tried to keep his comments on the matter brief, saying that he knows the story could get bigger if he engaged in a back-and-forth with the president. James instead took the opportunity to address the election in November.
“And I hope everyone, no matter the race, no matter the color, no matter the size, will see what leadership that we have at the top in our country and understand that November is right around the corner and it’s a big moment for us as Americans,” James said. “If we continue to talk about, ‘We want better, we want change,’ we have an opportunity to do that. But the game will go on without his eyes on it. I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball: We could [not] care less.”
Rivers also focused on voting during the course of his media session, wearing a hat that said simply, “Vote” on it.
“And this hat that I am wearing is what our president is trying to get us to not do,’ Rivers told reporters, according to ESPN. “Which I think is just as disgraceful.”
Since the NBA’s return in Orlando, players have worn messages about social justice and racial equality on the backs of their jerseys, in addition to wearing warmup shirts that say “Black Lives Matter” as part of the league’s continued focus on the issues brought to the forefront by this summer’s protests across the country. Throughout the first several days of the restarted season, players and coaches from each team have taken to kneeling during the anthem, continuing the protest started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2017.