As one of the most prominent black athletes in the world, LeBron James has a unique platform to speak up for the African American community -- and he has not taken it for granted.
In wake of the Jacob Blake shooting, James spoke to the media after the game on Monday night to share some comments on the shooting, police brutality, and on the racial injustices currently plaguing America.
“If you’re sitting here telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here lying not only to me, but you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community,” he said.
“Why does it always have to get to a point where we see the guns firing?”
“His family is there; his kids are there; it’s broad daylight,” he said. “My prayers go out to that family and that community, but I’ve got nothing nice to say about those cops at all.”
James then made a rather controversial statement, calling firearms a "problem" in America and how they create a feeling of fear within the community.
“When I lived in the projects, when I seen a cop going, we hid behind a brick wall and waited for it to roll out. If we saw the cop’s lights go on, we ran, even if we didn’t do nothing wrong. We were just scared,” he said.
“I think firearms are a huge issue in America….They’re not used just for hunting that a lot of people use for sport. For Black people right now, we think you’re hunting us,” he said.
Of course, not everyone was keen on James' words, and reactions surfaced all around the internet, with one of the most recent being a video from the Hodge Twins, who shared their perspective on YouTube.
"LeBron James: I know you think you're helping black people, but you're not. You're making s**t worse. People look up to you, you have a lot of power and influence. Black folks look up to you. So when you say something, they listen, and you out here scaring. You sound like that evil big brother that some kids have that teases them and scares them about everything.
"He said black people are scared? Guess what LeBron? Cops are scared too, you know. They're not robots, they're people. They have a dangerous job, that's why they have a gun on their hip and a bulletproof vest because, by the hundreds, they die every year on the job. More than black and white people combined. But you don't see anybody protesting for them."
James has done a good job of trying to be a voice for the black community and he has always prided himself on being an advocate for social justice and racial equality.
But not everyone agrees with his position, especially on police brutality. It's easy to forget that they are putting their lives on the line every day to keep our streets and homes safe from those who seek to break the law or harm our well-being.
No matter which side of the aisle you stand, it's clear to see that things are more divided now than ever before. And it doesn't seem likely to change any time soon.