LeBron James attended a Cleveland campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in 2016 even though she was likely to lose his home state of Ohio. After Donald Trump’s election, James repeatedly blasted the president. When Laura Ingraham said James should “shut up and dribble,” he rebutted the Fox News host by saying he had never heard of her before her remark. And now this: On Monday, James wouldn’t rule out running for president in 2020.
James began to get involved in political issues during the Obama years — publicly backing the first African-American president and the Black Lives Matter movement, for example — but he’s been ramping it up lately. We often think of athletes as doing something risky when they interject themselves into politics. But I don’t think James really has to worry about any backlash. The wall between the worlds of sports and politics has increasingly broken down, and James’s place in those worlds gives him extra protection.