On Tuesday, James started the NBA season in a pair of black Nike sneakers that spelled “Equality” on the soles in bold gold letters. The shoes led many to speculate on whether James — who is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump — wore the shoes as a political stance.
“Together we will persevere through all adversity, negativity and turn it into happiness and love,” James posted on his Instagram account under a picture of the shoes.
The move comes in the wake of protests by prominent NFL players of the treatment of minority groups in the U.S. by kneeling during the national anthem.
But just as Trump chose to deride the form of peaceful protest, many on Twitter were not happy with James’ choice of shoes — in some cases calling on the Cleveland Cavaliers player to “stay out of politics” or even on other fans to boycott the NBA.
That said, the sneakers also gained a fair bit of supporters on Twitter — particularly among fans who, given James’ social activism (he once wore a shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe” after the chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of police), waited to see how James would react to the widespread protests sweeping the NFL.