When LeBron James was asked about President Donald Trump calling NBA players kneeling during the national anthem "disgraceful" and saying that no one has done more for the Black community than him in an appearance on Fox and Friends on Wednesday, James chuckled.
"You trying to make me laugh right now?" James asked after the Lakers' 105-86 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. "I appreciate that."
James went on to say that Trump can go ahead and stop watching games.
"I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game. And that’s all I got to say," James said. "I don’t want to, I’m not going to get into a [discussion], because I already know where this could go, where it could lead to for tomorrow for me. I’m not going to get into it."
In a phone appearance on the weekday Fox News show on Wednesday, Trump criticized players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest systemic racism during the NBA restart at Walt Disney World near Orlando.
"When I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, what I do personally is turn off the game," Trump said.
"I think it's disgraceful. We work with [the NBA], we worked with them very hard trying to get open. I was pushing for them to get open. Then I see everybody kneeling during the anthem. That's not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling during the game, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game. Let me tell you this, plenty of other people out there, too."
Trump went on to address Black Lives Matter, saying he's done more for the cause than anyone, with one "possible exception."
"Black Lives Matter," Trump said. "Nobody has done better for our Black community than me. Nobody. With the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln; it's true. Criminal justice reform, opportunity zones, best employment numbers in history. Again, nobody has done for the black community — by far. I'll give the one exception: Abraham Lincoln."
James added that the presidential election is only a few months away.
"I hope everyone, no matter the race, no matter the color, no matter the size, will see what leadership that we have at the top in our country and understand that November is right around the corner and it’s a big moment for us as Americans," James said. "If we continue to talk about, ‘We want better, we want change,’ we have an opportunity to do that."
James has long been vocal about his feelings on Trump.
After Trump rescinded the championship-winning Golden State Warriors' invitation to the White House in Sept. 2017 following criticism from Stephen Curry, James called him "U bum" in a tweet. And in an Uninterrupted video in Feb. 2018, James said that Trump "does not give a f---" about the American people, adding that the things he says are "laughable and it's scary."
Trump has taken shots at James' intelligence.
Following an interview James did with CNN in Aug. 2018, Trump tweeted: "Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
Since entering the NBA bubble, James has been outspoken on social justice. He said he wants to see the police officers who shot Breonna Taylor get arrested. And before the Lakers' last game against the Utah Jazz on Monday, he wore a T-shirt that had a graphic of a stopwatch displaying the numbers 8:46 in honor of George Floyd, who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for that amount of time.
The Lakers have knelt before all four of their seeding games.
"I hope we made Kaep' proud," James said July 30 of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was widely criticized for kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
James intends to continue peacefully protesting racism and police brutality, whether or not Trump will watch games.
"The game will go on without his eyes on it," James said Wednesday. "I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball: We could care less."