LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Instead of holding the boxscore of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 2 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, LeBron James held something more important in his hands.
He clutched a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, a book on the civil rights icon that James said he "started a couple of days ago." James was photographed reading the book while working out in between Games 1 and 2, and the Lakers star has become captivated about the life of a person he considered "a very, very smart man" and "a very powerful-minded gentleman."
"It’s him understanding how powerful the negro can be. He uses that word a lot," James said. "But we have to unite and we have to be together and we have to stand strong because there’s always going to be obstacles. There’s always going to be things that’s going to be thrown at us where they try to weaken us, they try to make us feel like we’re not kings and queens and it’s going to come from all different races and all different shapes and sizes and things of that nature."
LeBron is early into the Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, but he said Malcolm X’s words and ideas still have meaning today. pic.twitter.com/v5UhxbRmu2
James lamented that he never had the chance to meet Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., two civil rights icons that were both assassinated in the 1960s. Regrettably, James observed that Malcolm X’s "words in the '60s and what was going on is actually what’s going on today still."
One example: President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday for people to boycott Goodyear Tire because the Ohio-based company had allegedly "announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS." A slide that was believed to be from a diversity training started circulating on social media this week that provided a list of acceptable phrases ("Black Lives Matter," “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride”) and unacceptable phrases ("Blue Lives Matter," "All Lives Matter") as well as MAGA attire and political affiliated slogans.
However, Goodyear, which is based in James' hometown of Akron, Ohio, said in a statement posted on its website that "the visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class. To be clear on our longstanding corporate policy, Goodyear has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination."
LeBron James (Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)
James remains aware of "what Goodyear means to our city."
"We don’t bend, and we don’t break for nobody. So we’re not worried about that," James said. "Not only has Goodyear been great for my city, for the history of my city, but the country and what they represented. It’s an unbelievable brand, unbelievable history. We stand strong and always unite, especially my city. We’ve always felt like we’ve been counted out being a small city, and that’s what rallies us even more and makes us even stronger. So shout-out, salute to all the workers, men and women, over the course of their history and to the city of Akron."
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