James deletes Twitter post as Trump takes issue

Lakers forward LeBron James, who is injured, yelling during the game against the Dallas Mavericks, who won 115-110 on Thursday.
Lakers forward LeBron James, who is injured, yelling during the game against the Dallas Mavericks, who won 115-110 on Thursday.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • National Basketball Association (NBA) star LeBron James deleted a Twitter post about the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old black girl in his home state of Ohio, but later explained he wanted greater accountability.

James, who sparked the Los Angeles Lakers to last year's NBA title, removed a Wednesday tweet showing a photo of the police officer, who is white, with the words: "You're next #accountability."

Body-camera footage released by Columbus police showed the girl swinging a knife at another person before shots were fired.

After James removed his tweet, he posted more messages, saying: "I'm so damn tired of seeing black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because it's being used to create more hate - this isn't about one officer.

"It's about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more accountability."

But James admitted fighting fire with fire also did not help.

"Anger does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!" he tweeted.

James, among the NBA's most outspoken leaders on social issues, grew up in Akron, north-east of Columbus, the state capital.

He has not played for the Lakers for a month due to injury, with his team losing 115-110 to the Mavericks in Dallas on Thursday. Anthony Davis made his return after over two months out but he scored just four points in 16 minutes.

Former US president Donald Trump took issue with James' comments on police shootings, saying he "should focus on basketball".

"LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA, which has just recorded the lowest television ratings, by far, in the long and distinguished history of the league," he said on Thursday.

"His racists rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning. He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our country together!"

Earlier this week, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering black American George Floyd last May.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2021, with the headline 'James deletes Twitter post as Trump takes issue'. Subscribe