LeBron James Criticizes Kyrie Irving’s ‘Harmful’ Actions: ‘I Don’t Respect It’

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers - Credit: Getty Images
Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers - Credit: Getty Images

LeBron James touched on the controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving’s boosting of an antisemitic film and the decision to not broadcast an episode of The Shop with Kanye West in the Lakers star’s postgame press conference Friday.

“I believe that what Kyrie did caused some harm to a lot of people,” James said of his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate. “And he has since, over the last – I think it was today, or yesterday – he apologized. But he caused some harm and I think it’s unfortunate.”

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James continued, “But I don’t stand on the position to harm people when it comes to your voice or your platform or anything. So it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, how tall you are, what position you’re in. If you are promoting or soliciting or saying harmful things to any community that harms people, then I don’t respect it. I don’t condone it.”

James’ HBO talk show The Shop previously revealed it had scrapped an episode featuring Kanye West after the rapper showed up “to reiterate more hate speech and extremely dangerous stereotype,” co-host Maverick Carter said in a statement; James was not on hand for West’s The Shop episode.

“I can tell you this, it’s simple. Me personally, I don’t condone any hate to any kind. To any race. To Jewish communities, to Black communities, to Asian communities. You guys know where I stand,” James said. “And that’s part of the reason why I didn’t air The Shop episode, why we kicked that out of the archives. Because it was hate conversation going on there. And I don’t represent that. There’s no place in this world for it.”

Hours earlier, Nike announced it had severed ties with Irving and would not release his upcoming Kyrie 8 line; that followed the Brooklyn Nets’ decision to suspend Irving for “no less than five games” over his non-apology and contentious press conferences regarding the situation.

“I hope [Irving] understands what he did and the actions that he took are just harmful to a lot of people,” James added. “I really didn’t get into it too much. But, I understand that when you’re hurting anybody, I understand that. That is just common sense.”

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