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February 17, 2018

LeBron James

Los Angeles, California

Q. Thoughts on what the Fox News anchor said about you?
LEBRON JAMES: I actually laughed first when I first saw the reports. Then I watched the video and how it was put off. First of all, I had no idea who she was or what she does. She won in that case because now I know who she is.

For her to go up there and say what she said, first of all, I would have had a little more respect for her if she actually wrote those words. She probably said it right off the teleprompter, but that’s OK.

We’re back to everything I’ve been talking about over the last few years. It lets me know that everything I’ve been saying has been correct, for her to have that type of reaction. But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I meant too much to so many kids who feel like they don’t have a way out and need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in.

Also, I wish she would have done a little more fact-checking, because I actually did finish high school and didn’t leave early. I graduated high school.

You know, to be an African-American kid and grow up in the inner city with a single parent, mother, and not being financially stable and to make it where I've made it today, I think I've defeated the odds.

I want every kid to know that. And I want everybody to know that the youth, they can do it as well. That's why I would not just shut up and dribble, because I mean too much to my two boys here, their best friend right here, my daughter that's at home, my wife, my family and all these other kids that look up to me for inspiration who are trying to find a way out, finding some leeway on how they can become as great as they can be and how those dreams can become a reality.

She did the best thing to help me create more awareness. So I appreciate her for giving me even more awareness. For me to sit up here in the greatest weekend of the NBA, All-Star weekend, this is the best weekend of the NBA, where all the countries in the whole entire world come watch the greatest players in the world, no matter if they're a part of Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I get to sit up here and talk about social injustice, equality and why a woman on a certain network decided to tell me to shut up and dribble. So, thank you, whatever her name is. I don't even know her name.

Q. Why do you think that people always target athletes for speaking out on social issues?
LEBRON JAMES: Because there was a time where athletes either felt they shouldn't speak up upon things or they didn't feel the courage to speak about things that were going on.

I've always said at the end of the day I do it because I'm passionate about it. I do it because I know that this is bigger than just me personally.

The hardest thing in the world for me personally is raising two African-American boys and an African-American daughter in today's society. It's hard.

For me to sit up here as an athlete -- that's why I started a company. I started Uninterrupted because I wanted athletes to feel like they had the power. They had the platform to speak about whatever they wanted to speak about and not have it cut and diced and split into a sound bite and people use it how they want to use it. That's exactly why I started it.

It can be as powerful as speaking about Trayvon Martin, or it could be as simple as saying what type of socks are you wearing this morning. That's why I started the platform that I started, to have athletes feel empowered to speak about whatever they feel like they want to speak about.

Because we have so many kids and so many people look up to us, to have that platform means everything to me.

Q. Can you speak about how USA Basketball and the NBA have really put the energies and synchronicity together, and look what's happening to the fan base? It's exploding. Your thoughts on how USA Basketball continues to bring our youth into the program?
LEBRON JAMES: I think ever since Jerry Colangelo and Coach K and Pop and those guys really took it seriously, we all started taking it very seriously. Understanding that the state of our sport, of the USA Basketball and the NBA, wasn't where it should be.

It started to become greater and greater and greater, and I give all the credit to Jerry Colangelo and Coach K, just understanding what we needed to go to, how we needed to get there. They did a great job of that.

Q. What makes Joel Embiid special?
LEBRON JAMES: I think the skills that makes Joel special on the court are his ability to do a little bit of everything. His ability to shoot, his ability to put the ball on the ground, his ability to use his footwork in the paint, his ability to be athletic as well.

You saw him move last night. He made a pump fake at the three-point line, drove right, spun and dunked it home. There are not many guys with his size and his height to be able to put that type of footwork and that type of package together.

Then off the court he's just being himself. He is who he is. That's special. When you're authentic, I think people gravitate toward that.

Q. For the All-Star Draft, what was your plan for Kyrie?
LEBRON JAMES: If he was available, I was taking him.

Q. You guys were on the same court today. What was the interaction like? What do you expect tomorrow night?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I mean, listen, anytime I get an opportunity to be with a fellow teammate of mine on the same court, and then you add on the fact of what we were able to accomplish in the three years, they just make it special. You automatically start thinking about the moments.

There was a time when I was in Miami when I thought about if there was a chance for me to be Kyrie's teammate at All-Star Weekend. I thought about that. I didn't think it would be possible, and then we became teammates. We were on the same All-Star court together as teammates.

Then, now, being opponents once again, but those thoughts still go into my head of how great it was to break the drought in our city, over 50-plus years, when the both of us had magical, magical Finals runs. So it's always special.

Q. KD thought that the Fox news anchor's comments were racist. Do you feel that they were?
LEBRON JAMES: Do I feel like her comments were racist? Well, listen, race is a part of our country, and we know that. I think the engine that she sits behind doesn't have a great rap sheet when it comes to race in our country and things of that nature.

There's been many people that's not African-American that spoke upon the same issues that I spoke upon, and they didn't say anything to them. So you can look at it as being racist or you could look at it saying it's just racial tension, which we already know that. That goes without saying.

I don't think we sit here and say, Oh, she's racist or that's racial tension, I'm surprised. We know that was going on. I'm just trying to shed a greater light and a positive light on the bad aura or the energy that some of the people are trying to give to the people of America and to the world.

I'm not the negative side. Me having this platform, I'm just trying to shed a positive light on what I feel like is right.

Am I always right? Can I have everybody follow me? I don't think so. But I'm looking at my boys right here, teaching them what's right and what's wrong, and we see what happens after that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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