LeBron James On Whether He'd Consider Running For President
It's well known that LeBron James refuses to shut up and dribble.
He's has been outspoken on his views on politics and social issues, and is willing to take controversial stands and risk alienating fans to stand up for the things he believes in.
But James made it clear that he's not willing to do that at the highest level when asked if he'd consider running for president of the United States at Lakers' practice Thursday.
"No, I’m not considering it," James said.
The subject came up after DeMarcus Cousins said James should run for president on Showtime's "All The Smoke" podcast with hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.
"I told him the other day, I'm like bro -- he's probably going to get pissed I'm saying this -- I'm like, bro, you need to run for president," said Cousins, who has been sidelined this season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. "If there's any NBA player to [do it], LeBron James.
"And he going to do it the right way. Obviously, that's just me talking and my opinion. He probably feels totally different. But I think he could do it. He has that type of impact, influence and just being a genuine person. I think that's going to take you further than anything."
James is a three-time NBA champion, a four-time MVP and a three-time Finals MVP. He took Cleveland and Miami to The Finals eight-straight seasons. He's considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
But the things he's done off the court may be even more impressive.
James started the I PROMISE School, which provides its students with free uniforms and meals. The school also gives families in need free transitional housing, GED assistance and job placement services. James and his foundation will also provide graduates of his "I PROMISE Program" full scholarships to the University of Akron.
"Just trying to give my kids an outlook on life that may be greater than it was before I got to them," James said Thursday. "Give them an opportunity to be as special and great as they can be. Using my influence, using my platform, using my inspiration to help them believe they can be anything in the world."
When Lakers' coach Frank Vogel was asked if he thinks James would make a good president, he didn't hesitate in his response.
"LeBron’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever been around," Vogel said. "I don’t know what his knowledge is of politics. Obviously that would be the first thing that comes into question. But I don’t know how to say it any stronger than he’s one of the best leaders I’ve been around. So I think he would obviously be great in that if that were to happen."
James has led the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference at 41-12, while creating a culture of brotherhood among the players.
Vogel said that James is a great leader for many reasons.
"His strength and intelligence," Vogel said. "Conviction. Respect, just by his presence being in a room. He just carries a certain respect level."
After James was critical of president Donald Trump in 2018, Fox News host Laura Ingraham that he should "shut up and dribble."
James swiftly rebuked that comment and went on to co-produce a three-part documentary series titled '‘Shut Up and Dribble' which "provides a powerful inside look at the changing role of athletes in our fraught cultural and political environment, through the lens of the NBA," according to Showtime.
The 35-year-old, who has 45.2 million Twitter followers and 60.1 million Instagram followers, has been vocal about social and racial inequality throughout his career. He's made public comments relating to the deaths of Eric Gardner and Trayvon Martin. He's questioned Trump. And he's been a proponent of women's rights.
Cousins said on "All The Smoke" that James, who was raised in poverty and had to move 12 times between ages five and eight, has a unique perspective on life.
"He understands it, he came from it, he grew up the same way," Cousins said. "You can't beat that."
Cousins added that he didn't realize just how impactful and inspiring James was until he became his teammate.
"I grew up a fan of him in general, but to get to know him off the court, he's a real dude," Cousins said.