LeBron fans were not having it when Jared Kushner, presidential advisor and husband of Ivanka Trump, said he’d like to see NBA players take "actual action".
On Wednesday, basketball superstar LeBron James tweeted, “WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT” after the Milwaukee Bucks announced they would not play their fifth first-round playoff game against the Orlando Magic.
The team said they were striking in solidarity and in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who James plays for, and the Los Angeles Clippers voted to strike for the remainder of the season on Wednesday night.
On hearing this news, Kushner, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday, was asked if the White House supports them.
“I think the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially. So, they have that luxury, which is great,” said Kushner whose family wealth has been estimated at well over $1.5bn.
He added: “With the NBA, there’s a lot of activism and I think that they put a lot of slogans out, but I think that we need to turn that from slogans and signals to actual action that’s gonna solve the problem.”
Kushner also told Politico that he planned to reach out to LeBron James to discuss the NBA protests. “I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive,” he said.
Twitter was in an uproar at this suggestion, saying that not only was Lebron James doing important anti-racism work but that he should not give Kushner the time of day – considering the Trump advisor's own track record.
“A billionaire, who inherited his wealth and has political power through nepotism, telling LEBRON JAMES to be more ‘productive’ in solving the problem of systemic racism,” one user wrote.
Others still were in disbelief that Kushner had completely discounted James’s anti-racism and social justice work, like opening a public school for under-privileged children in his home town of Akron, Ohio.
The Blake shooting is not the first time James has spoken out against police brutality, as he was vocal in the wake of the George Floyd police killing just a few months earlier.
It will be interesting to see if Kushner ever gets in touch with James, although we imagine James has absolutely zero interest.
In 2018, speaking on NBA teams being invited to the Trump White House, James said, "no one wants it anyway".