LeBron James Wears A Safety Pin On The Cover Of Sports Illustrated
Kermit Williams Jr. | 12/13/2016, 1:13 p.m. | Updated on 12/13/2016, 1:13 p.m.
NBA star LeBron James graced the cover of Sports Illustrated’s December issue proudly bearing the title of Sportsperson of the Year ― and sporting what appears to be a safety pin on his lapel.
During any other time, the barely noticeable accessory would bear no significance. In 2016, however, the pin speaks volumes.
In the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s win in November, the simple act of wearing a safety pin has become a political statement.
Trump, who has said he would ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., made sexist and insulting comments about women and racist comments about people of color in America, is a frightening prospect for many Americans who believe he is unfit for office. The safety pin movement is an attempt to show solidarity with anyone who might feel afraid.
Whether the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar is making a statement with the accessory, however, is unclear.
James was vocal about his political position during the 2016 presidential campaign, endorsing and campaigning with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. And just last week he refused to stay at a Trump hotel in New York ahead of a game against the Knicks.
However, he told reporters that his decision not to stay at the hotel was a matter of “personal preference,” not a political statement.
“At the end of the day, I hope he’s one of the best presidents ever, for all of our sakes ― for my family, for all of us.”
In the Sports Illustrated cover story, James spoke about his political activism, telling the magazine he looked up to people in positions of power during his childhood. “It could be athletes or actors or leaders, like presidents. I think parents could use some of those people as role models.
“But when we elect a president who speaks in a disrespectful way a lot, I don’t know that we can use him in our household.”
James told the magazine he’s not a fan of public protests, because “they can feel almost riotous sometimes.”
“I want it to be more about what I can do to help my community, what we can do so kids feel like they’re important to the growth of America ... . I’m not here to stomp on Trump. We’re here to do our part, which starts in the place we grew up, street by street, brick by brick, person by person.”