Welcome to an All-Star Weekend edition of LeBron James Says. I wasn't planning on doing one of these while LBJ was out in Los Angeles, but then again, when he has a press conference like the one we heard on Saturday afternoon, it's more than justified.
So let's first catch you up on why the Cavaliers' superstar is center stage in not just the NBA world, but in the national political scene:
Earlier this week, James and Kevin Durant were featured in a 16-minute “Uninterrupted” video during an Uber ride through downtown Akron in January. The conversation turned to politics and President Trump.
"The climate is hot. The No. 1 job in America, the appointed person is someone who doesn't understand the people, and really don't give a f--- about the people," LeBron said.
On Thursday night, Fox News host Laura Ingraham issued the following response during her show: “Unfortunately, a lot of kids and some adults take these ignorant comments seriously. Look, there might be a cautionary lesson in LeBron for kids: This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball. LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach, so keep the political commentary to yourself. Or as someone once said, ‘Shut up and dribble.’”
In an interview with USA TODAY's Sam Amick, Durant said of Ingraham's comments: “To me, it was racist."
LeBron posted this nugget on Instagram on Friday night.
During Saturday's media availability, James fired back early and often at Ingraham, but never bothered to mention the television host by name.
"For me to sit up here in the greatest weekend of the NBA, All-Star weekend, this is the best weekend of the NBA, where all the countries in the whole entire world come watch the greatest players in the world, no matter if they're a part of Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I get to sit up here and talk about social injustice, equality and why a woman on a certain network decided to tell me to shut up and dribble. So, thank you, whatever her name is. I don't even know her name."
Wow. See it for yourself.
But wait, there's more:
"It lets me know that everything I’ve been saying has been correct, for her to have that type of reaction. But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I meant too much to so many kids who feel like they don’t have a way out and need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in."
Oh and if you're scoring at home, how about this one: "I wish she would have done a little more fact-checking, because I actually did finish high school and didn’t leave early. I graduated high school."
There were other subjects that LeBron touched on besides Ms. Ingraham.
On being back on same team with Kyrie Irving:
"Well, I mean, listen, anytime I get an opportunity to be with a fellow teammate of mine on the same court, and then you add on the fact of what we were able to accomplish in the three years, they just make it special. You automatically start thinking about the moments.
There was a time when I was in Miami when I thought about if there was a chance for me to be Kyrie's teammate at All-Star Weekend. I thought about that. I didn't think it would be possible, and then we became teammates. We were on the same All-Star court together as teammates.Then, now, being opponents once again, but those thoughts still go into my head of how great it was to break the drought in our city, over 50-plus years, when the both of us had magical, magical Finals runs. So it's always special."
There were some lighter moments. Guillermo from the Jimmy Kimmel Show asked LeBron what his 'perfect salad' is. I'm not making that up.
Former San Antonio Spur Tiago Splitter, doing some media work for his native Brazil, began his question to James by saying, "Don't block me today."
At the close, things got emotional when LeBron was asked about Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
"I lived in South Florida for four years and my message to the people is...(long pause with hand covering face)..wow it's a tragedy. We've seen these schools and these tragedies happen in America and there's been no change to gun control. I don't have the answer to this. We have to do something about it. We're all sending our kids to school, right?
We have a kid that was legally not able to get a beer at a bar, but could go buy an AR 15. It doesn't make sense. I'm not saying he should be allowed to get a beer. How is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun.To families in Parkland down in Broward County. It's sad and I'm sorry. It's just a tragedy."
Watch the entire press conference for yourself: