Watch LeBron James’ full remarks here:
In an interview with the New York Times published Friday, NBA superstar LeBron James discussed his efforts to mobilize black voters in the upcoming presidential election. “I think we can bring people together,” Mr. James said. “We all can feel good knowing we all [are] fighting for the same thing. People should ask for a truth.” The game hasn’t yet arrived. Will the political party platforms receive as much attention and attention as Mr. James’ campaigns? Both Democrats and Republicans have been touting their plans to bring more people to the polls this November, but their respective promises will probably lack the political leverage of the basketball star’s organization, the Uninterrupted.
Mr. James recently launched a campaign calling for voting on his LinkedIn page and even went to Virginia to meet with high school students involved in a voter registration drive at their school in Petersburg. Through his company, he’s been sponsoring local and national events dedicated to voter turnout and has come to the defense of Michael Bennett, the free agent defensive lineman who’s suing the NFL for ignoring the early-warning signs of head injuries. The plan he outlines in the New York Times is a multipronged approach that combines community engagement with political advocacy — “an entrepreneur who cares about moving America forward.” His plans, of course, will also be tested at the ballot box next month.
The hard part is getting people to participate. People may feel discouraged by the lack of new faces and political combativeness that’s common in government.
Still, the average voter is younger than ever before and could comprise a significant voting bloc that’s increasingly less interested in ideology than leadership qualities. In a Facebook Live video last week, Mr. James pushed for a new generation of bold thinking in politics, declaring that, “I want people to stand up for change and not for how it will affect their pocketbook.” His own self-declared platform as an unapologetic left-leaning worker-capitalist is still a work in progress, but his determination is already paying off.
On the back of his work with organizers across the country, the first quarter of the 2019 National Basketball Association season is expected to draw record television ratings. All of this comes as President Trump’s approval rating has hit a record low. Mr. James says that’s a good thing. “In politics, if you can’t change the opinion of 100 people, you’re going to have a hard time,” he said in the interview. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”
In March, the president officially agreed to speak with Mr. James at a press conference at the White House. James, known for his philanthropic work and for having recently sold his downtown Miami home, scheduled the visit because he feels a personal connection to the president. But Mr. Trump has already moved on, noting on Twitter that the situation “was not a good one for the city of Cleveland.” Mr. James was not worried about how the president might perceive their discussion. “I don’t think that we want to work with someone who is a negative force in the world,” he said.