LeBron James spent Tuesday with 7,500 kids from his hometown of Akron, Ohio, who went to an amusement park called Cedar Point thanks in part to the LeBron James Family Foundation.
It certainly looked to be a fun time, as “shirtless J.R. Smith” arrived to laughter from the crowd of children and adults in attendance.
Shirtless J.R. Smith is back pic.twitter.com/VDtkBcCOeP
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) August 16, 2017
But the night took a somber turn when LeBron turned his attention to the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, when a rally of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the “alt-right” met counter-protestors with violence, leading to at least one death.
In his statement, LeBron took a shot at President Donald Trump, who hardly condemned the faction present in Charlottesville that included a heavy dose of Nazi symbols in tattoo form, on signs, and on clothing.
“Lastly and last before I get off stage, before we all get off stage, I know there’s a lot of tragic things happening in Charlottesville. I just want to speak on it right now,” LeBron said. “I have this platform and I’m somebody that has a voice of command and the only way for us to get better as a society and for us to get better as people is love. And that’s the only way we’re going to be able to conquer something as one. It’s not about the guy that’s the so-called president of the United States, or whatever the case. It’s not about a teacher that you don’t feel like cares about what’s going on with you every day. It’s not about the people you just don’t feel like want to give the best energy and effort to you. It’s about us. It’s about us looking in the mirror. Kids all the way up to adults. All of us looking in the mirror and saying, ‘What can we do better to help change?’ And if we can all do that and give 110 percent and give both foots forward, then that’s all you can ask for. So, shout out to the innocent people in Charlottesville and shout out to everybody across the world that just want to be great and just want to love. Thank you, and I love you all.”
After Trump—who at one time, as an adult, didn’t know if the WWE was real or not, according to Triple H—won the presidency in November, LeBron posted a statement on Instagram urging America’s leaders and parents to set examples of love and kindness for younger generations.