- LeBron James just hinted that he could be tempted into challenging Donald Trump for the presidency in 2020.
- Education and racial harmony would likely be two topics that would feature prominently on his presidential ticket.
- James recently opened an educational facility for 240 at-risk students.
- But before James can consider running for office, he will honour his LA Lakers contract – a team he will compete for in the 2018-2019 NBA season and beyond.
The number 23 has long been synonymous with LeBron James’ career in the NBA, but the number 2020 could play a more significant part in the athlete’s life after sport.
The basketball super has hinted he “may” go head-to-head with Donald Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election.
James recently signed for the LA Lakers after four years with the Cleveland Cavaliers but recently told CNN about his decision to open a school in Akron in Ohio, about his thoughts on racial inequality in America, and the conditions required for him to compete against Trump in two years’ time.
“I don’t know,” James said when he was asked about becoming president. “I may… if they [The Democratic Party] have no one, I believe there may be someone… I may [run]. Let’s see.”
Education could rank high on his political agenda after he opened the “I Promise” educational facility, a school for 240 at-risk students.
James, a three-time NBA champion, wanted to create the school to give children an opportunity to excel despite difficult life or social situations elsewhere. The facility is open for longer hours – from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – because James says he wants the kids in school instead of on the street.
“Every kid who walks through those doors, every kid, all 240, [the goal is for them] to be inspired,” he told CNN. “For kids in general all they want to know is that someone cares. And when they walk through that door I hope they know that someone cares.”
If James ran for office, achieving racial harmony in America would likely also be at the forefront, as he believes race is something Trump is using to divide the country.
“Our president is using sport to divide us and that’s something I can’t relate to. Sport was the first time I was around someone white, and I got the opportunity to learn about them and them about me. Sport brings [people] together.”
James once had to explain racism to his children when vandals graffiti’d the “n-word” over his Los Angeles property.
“No matter how big you can become, no matter how successful you are, no matter what you do in the community or in your profession, being African American in America is tough, and they always going to let you know that you are the ‘n-word’ – no matter who you are,” he told CNN.
James then offered advice to young African Americans on how to overcome racism. “When you’re an African American kid, male or female, you’re always going to be against obstacles,” he said. “You can allow it to affect you, or you can allow it to empower you and rise above it.
“When you look at the greatest leaders of our time, Muhammad Ali and Dr Martin Luther King, after all the adversity they went through, they never let it down them. They used it as motivation to be more powerful – and they are the reason we are here today.”
Could James be a leader like Ali or King?
Though James has reached the top of basketball, he remains “coachable” and the “ultimate professional” – he has seemingly never felt like he has gotten too big to learn, despite his impressive basketball IQ.
Business Insider spoke to Phil Handy, an NBA coach who knows James better than most, in London last year, and Handy told us that he “studies, wants to be challenged, and wants to be coached” – skills that could prove transferrable should James want to learn more about governmental departments that focus on energy, housing and urban development, and defence.
Handy also said that James is a natural born leader, and a focused worker. When he was at the Cavaliers, “LeBron [was] one of the first guys in the building. That in itself is something that makes the younger guys think they have to live up to that.”
Ultimately, 2020 may come too soon for James as he only recently signed a four-year, $US154 million deal at the Lakers.
James returns to basketball for the 2018-2019 season, which begins in late October and will end in mid-April, next year. Should the Lakers make the playoffs, the team’s season could carry on until June.
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