LeBron James, the NBA star, deleted a tweet about the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old Black girl in his home state of Ohio, later explaining that he wants more accountability.
James, who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA title last year, deleted a tweet on Wednesday that showed a photo of the white police officer with the words “YOU’RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY.”
The girl was swinging a knife at another person before the shots were fired, according to body camera footage released by the Columbus, Ohio, police department.
After removing his tweet, James posted additional messages to explain his decision.
“I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police,” James posted on Twitter.
“I took the tweet down because it’s being used to create more hate -This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
James also said anger was the wrong response to such situations.
“ANGER does any of us any good and that includes myself! Gathering all the facts and educating does though! My anger still is here for what happened that lil girl. My sympathy for her family and may justice prevail!” he tweeted.
James grew up in Akron, Ohio, about a two-hour drive northeast of Columbus, the state capital. He is one of the NBA’s most outspoken leaders on social issues.
The Ohio incident occurred just days after a former Minnesota police officer was found guilty of murder in the death of handcuffed Black man George Floyd last May. His death sparked global protests for social justice.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump said in a statement on Thursday that James should “focus on basketball” in response to his comments about police shootings.
The former US president also took a swipe at the NBA.
“LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA, which has just recorded the lowest television RATINGS, by far, in the long and distinguished history of the League,” he said.
“His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning. He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!”