LeBron James took aim at President Donald Trump‘s so-called “Muslim ban” during an acceptance speech of a NAACP Image Award. The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star accepted the Jackie Robinson Award at the top of the year and took a moment to blast Trump’s immigration policies as divisive.
The award, given to individuals for their philanthropic contributions, was handed to James on Feb. 1 at center court during a ceremony at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. James showed humble appreciation for the honor and then turned his thoughts to the ban.
As protests continue to rage over President Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, James has calibrated his message to encourage peaceful dissent through free speech. “I am not in favor of this policy or any policy that divides and excludes people,” he says. “I stand with the many, many Americans who believe this does not represent what the United States is all about. And we should continue to speak out about it.”
James has shied away from political statements in times past, so his challenge to the ban was a shift in tone from the player.
The ceremony will air during TV One’s broadcast of the 48th NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 11.