Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Thursday insulted LeBron James’ intelligence and said he and Kevin Durant should not express their political opinions. Ingraham called recent statements James had made about President Trump “barely intelligible” in a segment on her Fox News show, “The Ingraham Angle.”
Then, after showing a clip featuring James speaking about the president with Durant and ESPN host Cari Champion, she asked, “Must they run their mouths like that?”
James responded Friday with a powerful message on Instagram, posting a neon image that said "I am more than an athlete." He also used the hashtag #wewillnotshutupanddribble.
At a news conference on Saturday, James addressed Ingraham’s comments. “We’re back to everything I’ve been talking over the past few years,” he said. “It lets me know that everything I’ve been saying is correct, for her to have that type of reaction.”
He added, “But we will definitely not shut up and dribble.”
The image that James posted quickly spread on social media with a number of high-profile athletes using the image in tweets. Among them was Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who posted this Saturday night.
Ingraham, a stalwart ally of Trump, belittled James for leaving high school early to enter the NBA and said that it was unwise to “seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball.”
“You’re great players but no one voted for you,” she concluded, addressing James and Durant. “Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself, or as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”
Ingraham’s comments referred to a clip of James and Durant criticizing the president from James’ video platform, Uninterrupted. James spoke about his experience as an African-American and then, prompted by Champion, repeated his past criticisms of Trump.
Ingraham made similar arguments on Friday night’s episode of her Fox News show before doubling down against James. “If you want to be a political pundit, you’re coming on my court,” she said.
The Buffalo News contributed to this report.