After winning the NBA championship, LeBron James is focused on the upcoming election — not on getting into a Twitter spat.
In June, James started the nonprofit, More Than a Vote, to thwart voter suppression and motivate Black Americans to go to the polls. With less than two weeks to go before the Nov. 3 election between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Los Angeles Lakers star is ramping up the group's efforts.
"It’s authentic to who I am. I come from the Black community. I understand my Black people and what we go through on a day-to-day basis," James told the New York Times in a recent interview. "I understand that we’ve not been given a lot of information along the course of time, and I understand how important our vote is."
While James campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, he says he isn't focusing on one particular candidate in 2020 — though James has been clear he doesn't support the Trump Administration.
"It’s just what needed to be done at this point in time," James told the outlet. "We’ve been talking about voter suppression, we’ve been talking about police brutality, systemic racism. We’ve had so many things going on, and voter suppression in our communities happens to be at the forefront. So that’s something we wanted to educate our people on."
That's why James believes the true measure of success in this year's election is having a high turnout for Black Americans.
According to Pew Research Center, the number of Black voters participating in a presidential election fell for the first time in 20 years four years ago. The drop came after 66.6 percent of registered Black voters showed up to the polls for the 2012 election between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (only 59.6 percent participated in the Clinton vs. Trump election).
While James and Trump have previously clashed with each other on social media — James called the president a "bum," while Trump insulted James' intelligence in a tweet (while also bashing CNN's Don Lemon) — the four-time NBA champion isn't interested in that this time around.
"I don’t go back and forth with anybody. And I damn sure won’t go back and forth with that guy," James told the Times. "But we want better, we want change in our community. We always talk about, 'We want change,' and now we have the opportunity to do that."
Trump and Biden will go toe-to-toe in the second presidential debate on Thursday night. It will be the last time both men share a stage before the election, and James hopes he will have done enough to convince Black voters to make a decision come Nov. 3.
"You know, there’s so many stats out there, you can see it every time. Who didn’t vote? What counties didn’t vote? What communities didn’t vote? And a lot of that has had to do with our Black people," James said. "So, hopefully, we can get them out and educated and let them understand how important this moment is."
Have questions about how to vote ahead of the Nov. 3 election? Use vote.org to check your state-specific information about registering to vote, voting by mail, early voting, finding your polling place and more. Early and mail voting are already underway across much of the country, while many states also allow voters to register at their polling places on the same day they cast their ballots.
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