The commander-in-chief applauded Obama as well as other black celebrities who have expressed their opinion regarding race and police brutality amid the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. So much so that he was reminded of past athletes who stood up for what was right.
“I think LeBron did the right thing,” Obama told People magazine. “We forget the role that Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, and Bill Russell played in raising consciousness. I’d like to see more athletes do that — not just around the issue, but around a range of issues.”
The president’s response comes after James generated headlines for wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt during warm-ups before the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 9.
James’ actions are the latest in a string of statements the NBA all-star has made over the years regarding racism. In a tribute to Trayvon Martin, James managed to get his teammates to wear hoodies and pose for a photo when he played for the Miami Heat in 2012. This year, James made it known where he stood on racist comments from then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
While chatting with People, Obama was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama in a discussion about their experiences with racial discrimination.
“I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years,” Mrs. Obama told the magazine while mentioning that her husband knows about racial profiling firsthand since he dealt with it prior to becoming president. “Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs.”
To see the HuffPost Live’s report on the Obamas’ interview with People, check out the video below: