LOS ANGELES: LeBron James said on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) he did not regret branding President Donald Trump a “bum”, accusing the US leader of dividing the nation in his feud with the sports world.
NBA star James had taken aim at Trump on Twitter on Saturday after the president withdrew a White House invitation to the champion Golden State Warriors and star player Stephen Curry.
“U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James wrote.
Asked if he regretted his choice of words on Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers star gave a blunt response: “No.”
In a press conference at the Cavaliers’ pre-season media day, James repeatedly referred to Trump as “that guy”, saying he had failed to bring the country together.
“First of all, I salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, the fans. Everyone had any association with the NFL was unbelievable,” James told reporters at NBA Media Day. “There was no divide. Even from that guy that continues to try to divide us as people.
“We know this is the greatest country in the world, this is the land of the free,” James said. “But we still have problems just like everybody else. And when we have those problems, we have to figure out a way to come together and be as great as we can be as a people.
“Because the people run this country. Not one individual — and damn sure not him,” James added, referring to Trump.
James, the highest profile star in the NBA, had words of praise for the way NFL players had rallied together in protest at Trump on Sunday.
“First of all, I salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, the fans. Everyone had any association with the NFL was unbelievable,” James said.
“There was no divide. Even from that guy that continues to try to divide us as people.”
Trump’s reaction to NFL players who protest during the national anthem showed he did not know how to lead the nation, James added.
James hopes Wade will join Cavs
LeBron James is hopeful Dwyane Wade will join the Cleveland Cavaliers after he secured his buyout from the Chicago Bulls.
The 35-year-old guard bought out his contract with the Bulls on Sunday, and is now poised to listen to offers from a string of potential suitors.
Wade passed up around $8 million in salary to obtain the buyout, according to ESPN.
Wade is a former teammate of James from their time at the Miami Heat — and the Cleveland star is enthusiastic about a possible reunion.