LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — NBA players and coaches from around the country have spent the last two days discussing the violence and chaos that broke out Wednesday when a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building. For Lakers star LeBron James, the moment was illustrative of the dichotomy in policing in this country.
“We live in two Americas and a prime example of that was yesterday. If you don’t understand or see that then you need to take a step back. Not just one step but four or five or even 10 steps backward,” James said after the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the San Antonio Spurs 118-109. “How do you want your kids or grandkids to live in this beautiful country? Yesterday was not it. I couldn’t help but to wonder if those were my kind storming the Capitol what would have been the outcome. We all know what would have happened if anyone even got close let alone storm or get in the offices.”
The “two Americas” line is one that has been echoed by players across the league who were already feeling pain after watching the prosecutor in Kenosha, Wisconsin announce on Tuesday that there would be no charges filed against the officer who shot Jacob Blake last summer.
In warmups, James wore a shirt with the message, “Do You Understand Now,” while players and coaches from both teams locked arms in a circle at center court during the national anthem. When a reporter asked James about the shirt during the post game press conference, he explained that he wants people to listen to and understand what Black athletes are saying when they speak up about racial injustice and police brutality.
“You will never understand the feeling of being a black man and woman in America,” James said. “Do you understand how hard it is to continue to inspire and give everything we got? Everyone jumps on the bandwagon of what we provide, what we bring. How we dress, our music, our culture, our food. Everyone steals from what we do and then they want to act like we did it or brought it to this world. We don’t get our due diligence or anything back to his country except a slap in the face.”
As for President Trump, of whom James has been a vocal critic, he said that the violence Wednesday was a direct result of his comments.
“The events that took place yesterday was a direct correlation of the president that’s in the seat right now — of his actions, his beliefs, his wishes,” James said. “He cares about nobody besides himself. Nobody. Absolutely nobody. He doesn’t care about this country. He doesn’t care about his family. He doesn’t care about anybody besides himself.”