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31 Jul, 2018 11:08

‘Trump is using sport to divide us’ – NBA star LeBron James

‘Trump is using sport to divide us’ – NBA star LeBron James

Basketball icon LeBron James says that US President Donald Trump is using sport to divide American athletes along racial lines.

In an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, the four-time NBA MVP said that race issues had been stirred up in sports by Trump, who has frequently waded in on the row over anthem protests in the National Football League (NFL).

READ MORE: Dallas Cowboys owner calls Trump ‘problematic’ after US president’s comments on NFL

“We are in a position right now in America more importantly where this whole race thing is taking over. Because I believe our president is kinda trying to divide us,” James said.

And what I've noticed over the last few months he's kinda used sport to kinda divide us, and that's something that I can't relate to."

Trump has been vocal on the issue over the past year after the anthem movement launched by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Collin Kaepernick in 2016 swept the league, becoming one of the most highly-debated issues in US sports.

In June, Trump cancelled a visit to the White House by Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles, after a majority of their players and coaches refused to attend the event over the anthem protest controversy.

READ MORE: ‘Protesting during the anthem is not the time or venue' - NFL star Prescott on kneeling issue

Last week, the US president called on NFL bosses to suspend players involved in kneeling demonstrations for an entire season without pay, as the issue rekindled again after it surfaced that the Miami Dolphins would suspend protesting players for up to four games under a new team policy.

I know that sport was the first time I was ever around someone white,” James said. “I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got the opportunity to learn about me and we became very good friends, and I was like, 'Oh wow, this is all because of sports.' And sport has never been something to divide people, it has always been something to bring someone together.”

On Monday, the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron (Ohio) Public Schools opened a new elementary facility called ‘I Promise School’ for at-risk youngsters from difficult backgrounds.