Though Donald Trump has a vocal endorsement from fiery former basketball coach Bobby Knight and retired boxer Mike Tyson, James wrote in a guest column for the Akron Beacon-Journal that his vote for president in the 2016 election would be cast for Hillary Clinton.
“Only one person running truly understands the struggles of an Akron child born into poverty. And when I think about the kinds of policies and ideas the kids in my foundation need from our government, the choice is clear: That candidate is Hillary Clinton.”
James, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA title last season, has become outspoken on social issues in the past year, including opening remarks at the ESPYs Awards show in July regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. He has called for fellow athletes to be more active and stand together, saying “we all have to do better.”
Alongside Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, James said at the ESPYs that athletes should “explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence and, most importantly, go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better.”
Since that moment on a stage in Las Vegas, which came before police-related incidents in Tulsa, Okla., and Charlotte, N.C., other athletes have stepped up their own public displays, including San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick leading a growing movement to kneel during the national anthem. Kaepernick began by sitting during the anthem but since decided to go to one knee.
James was born and raised in Akron. No Democrat has been elected president without winning Ohio on election day since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Ohio was a swing state in the 2008 and 2012 elections and along with Virginia, Nevada, Colorado and Florida, is expected to be a battleground state again in November.
James said he expects Clinton, who campaigned in Ohio on Monday, to pick up where his “good friend” Barack Obama leaves off in January 2017.
“There are a lot of people who want to tell kids who grew up like me and looked like me that they just don’t have anything to look forward to,” James writes. “That’s dead wrong.
“I do know we need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified. Policies and ideas that divide us more are not the solution. We must all stand together — no matter where we are from or the color of our skin. And Hillary is running on the message of hope and unity that we need.”