LeBron James is not faltering in his message to conservative Fox News host Laura Ingraham after she told him to “shut up and dribble.” Although he can’t actually remember her name.
“I will not just shut up and dribble,” the Cleveland Cavaliers player said after the NBA All-Star practice in Los Angeles on Saturday. “So, thank you, whatever her name is … I get to sit up here and talk about what’s really important and how I can help change kids.
“It lets me know that everything I’ve been saying is correct for her to have that type of reaction,” James told reporters.
“But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I mean too much to society, I mean too much to the youth, I mean too much to so many kids that feel like they don’t have a way out and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in,” the three-time NBA Finals MVP said.
“We know it’s bigger than us. It’s not about us,” he added. “I’m going to continue to do what I have to do to play this game that I love to play, but this is bigger than me playing the game of basketball.”
Ingraham has already come under heavy fire for criticizing James and fellow NBA star Kevin Durant for making anti-Trump comments in an interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion for “UNINTERRUPTED,” which was filmed in January.
Durant will join James on his Team LeBron for the All-Star game Sunday night, and also shared his opinion on the issue.
“I feel like everybody has a voice, especially with our own platforms, we can use our voices for good. It’s not just me,” the Golden State Warriors player and nine-time All-Star said. “I feel like everybody in this room has a voice and it’s getting louder and louder every day, so we’ve got to speak what we believe in, we’ve got to speak our truths, and we’ve got to keep it real out here.”
Durant said in a previous statement that he thought Ingraham’s on-air comments were “racist,” while James responded in a simple Instagram post on Friday, stressing “I am more than an athlete.”
Ingraham also issued the following statement on the matter, obtained by TheWrap, saying: “In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called ‘Shut Up & Sing,’ in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics.
“I’ve told Robert DeNiro to ‘Shut Up & Act,’ Jimmy Kimmel to ‘Shut Up & Make Us Laugh,’ and just this week told the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to ‘Shut up & Coach.’ If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians.
“There was no racial intent in my remarks — false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism. Additionally, we stated on my show that these comments came from an ESPN podcast, which was not the case — the content was unaffiliated with ESPN.”