White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said Thursday he intends to invite LeBron James to the White House to discuss solutions to racial injustice.
His comments came a day after the NBA paused the playoffs after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game against the Orlando Magic. The Bucks were protesting the shooting by police of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, about 40 miles south of Milwaukee.
In an interview with Politico, Kushner said he would contact James to try to set up a meeting.
“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. And again, President Trump in this White House is willing to work with them,” said Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law.
Kushner on the NBA protests: "They have the luxury of taking a night off from work, most Americans don't have the financial luxury to do that." He hopes they'll look for concrete solutions #RNCwithPOLITICO pic.twitter.com/ZAVC62XBOh
— POLITICO (@politico) August 27, 2020
James, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, is one of the voices behind the More Than a Vote Effort, which is working to protect the voting rights of Black Americans and encouraging them to register and vote. He has been critical of Trump in the past.
James, who has spoken frequently about the racial and social inequalities, wrote on Twitter Thursday afternoon: “Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW! … It’s on US to make a difference. Together. That’s why your vote is @morethanavote #BlackLivesMatter”
Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW! For my @IPROMISESchool kids, kids and communities across the country, it’s on US to make a difference. Together. That's why your vote is @morethanavote ✊🏾 #BlackLivesMatter
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 27, 2020
Kushner said he wanted to chat with James, in his 17th NBA season, to see where the two sides could come to agreement and to figure out “a common pathway to get there.”
Despite the invitation, Kushner still had some words Thursday that NBA players might not find welcoming.
“Look, I think that 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,” Kushner said on CNBC. “So they have that luxury, which is great.”
According to reports Thursday morning, James and Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers told a meeting of players Wednesday night in the NBA bubble near Orlando that they wanted to call off the rest of the playoffs, spurred by the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha on Sunday.
ESPN reported, however, that the playoffs will continue, perhaps as early as this weekend.