James faced a torrent of criticism after a statement Monday where he derided Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets' general manager, for comments in support of Hong Kong freedom protesters.
"It's a tough situation that we're all in," he said Tuesday. "I think when an issue comes up if you feel passionate about it or you feel like it's something you want to talk about it, so be it."
"I also don't think every issue should be everyone's problem," James added.
"There's multiple things that happen in our own country that we don't bring up. Things that happen in my own community," he continued.
"I try to make sure the inner-city kids that grow up in my hometown can have a brighter future and look at me as inspiration to get out of the hell hole of the inner city," he concluded. "We don't talk about those stories enough."
James was excoriated by many in the U.S., but even more acutely by protesters in Hong Kong, who donned his image to ridicule him, and burned his jerseys. Fellow NBA star Enes Kanter added to the furor by listing the oppression he had faced by another dictatorial regime, that of Turkish President Recep Erdogan.
When asked if he had paid attention to the public outrage against his comments, James said he was more concerned about basketball practice.
"I haven't been paying attention to it much besides what I said and what we're trying to do here," he said.
He added that he would not speak out about the protests against Chinese oppression again because it was a distraction for his team.
Here's a portion of James' comments:
I asked LeBron James on his response to the criticism on not speaking out on a freedom of speech/human rights issue… https://t.co/GVWZygEb4X— Mark Medina (@Mark Medina) 1571173566.0