LeBron James continues campaign for 'equality' in fashion statement
MANILA, Philippines – LeBron James has made another message about his social views, but this time it's found on his kicks.
In the Cavs' 106-99 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday, December 17, James wore the LeBron 15 Equality Player Exclusive (PE) Nike shoes in white on his left and its black counterpart on his right, which had the word "EQUALITY" embellished in gold across the back of the shoes.
"We all know where we are right now, and we know who is at the helm here," responded James when asked about his choice of footwear. "Us as Americans, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter who you are, I think we all have to understand that having equal rights and being able to stand for something and speak for something and keeping the conversation going [is important]."
The 4-time NBA champion has been vocal in his calls for racial equality and unity across all sports against U.S. President Donald Trump, especially during the president's feuds against sports teams such as the NFL.
Prior to the 2017-2018 NBA Season, James expressed his dislike of Trump when he came to the defense of Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry who said he'd decline an invitation to the White House. The Cleveland Cavaliers star responded by calling Trump a 'bum' in a tweet.
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
"Obviously, I've been very outspoken and well-spoken about the situation that's going on at the helm here, and we're not going to let one person dictate us, us as Americans, how beautiful and how powerful we are as a people," explained James.
"Equality is all about understanding our rights, understanding what we stand for and how powerful we are as men and women, black or white or Hispanic. It doesn't matter your race, whatever the case may be, this is a beautiful country, and we're never going to let one person dictate how beautiful and how powerful we are."
Despite posting his 3rd straight triple-double of 20 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists in his second meeting with the Wizards this season, the 3-time NBA MVP had "superstitious beliefs" that made him switch out of the statement shoes due to his lackluster first half performance.
Earlier this season, James wore an all-black version of the sneakers during the Cavs' opening game against the Boston Celtics amidst the peaceful protests being done by different US sports personalities during the national anthem.
The sneakers were made specifically for James as part of Nike's EQUALITY campaign that was launched in February 2017. James committed to a lifetime sponsorship deal with the company whose mission in this campaign is "centered on using Nike’s voice and the power of sport to inspire people to take action in their communities."
In the behind-the-scenes video of the campaign, James vows to use his influence to bring up the topic of racial equality despite the sensitivity to the issue.
"At the end of the day, we’re just trying to find a way to all feel equal, that we can all be equal, have the same rights, have the same feelings, be in the same place no matter the color," says James.
"It is always a sensitive subject but at the same time, it needs to be talked about so for me to use my influence in a matter like this, it means a lot."