What NBA players and coaches are saying about Trump, protests

LeBron: 'It's powerful what all these athletes are doing' (1:55)

LeBron James says the responses to President Trump are admirable and that he would sign Colin Kaepernick if he were an NFL owner. (1:55)

It's media day for many teams around the league. Here's what NBA players, coaches and executives are saying in response to President Donald Trump's comments over the weekend about the Warriors, NFL protests and the intersection of politics and sports.

This file will be updated throughout the day.

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, forward: "If you voted for [Trump], you may have made a mistake. Can we sit up here and say I'm trying to make a difference? I want the best for the American people, no matter the skin color, the race. We know this is the greatest country in the world. We still have problems, just like everybody else. The people run this country -- not one individual, damn sure not him.

"As I have this platform, I will lend my voice, my passion, my money to let these kids know there is hope, greater walks of life. No one individual can stop your dreams from being a reality."

Doc Rivers, LA Clippers, head coach: "I don't think players want to protest. I think the reason they're protesting is because they think there's injustice and there's prejudice and there's bigotry -- there's a lot of things. We want our country to be great. I don't think anyone is upset at making America great. I think we're all upset at the word "again." When I hear the word "again," I'm thinking backward, going back. That's what that word means, and I don't think anyone wants that. In short: If Donald Trump did his job, players would not be kneeling.

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs, head coach: "Our country is an embarrassment in the world. This is an individual that [thought] when people held arms during games that they were doing it to honor the flag. That's delusional, but it's what we have to live with. You got a choice. We can continue to bounce our heads off the walls with his conduct, or we can decide the institutions of our country are more important, people are more important, decent America we all have and want is more important, get down to business at the grassroots level and do what we have to do."

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, guard: "Obviously, the things he's saying is outrageous in my opinion. It's uncalled for, especially due to all the other things we have going on in the world. You know, the people, the families, the people all across the world that are hurting, that needs help. But I think it's unnecessary and uncalled for. I'm definitely not in agreement to anything he says, and I never will be."

Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, president of basketball operations: "We have bigger problems in our country than to worry about people who are exercising their freedom of speech. North Korea is a big problem. Job creation is a big, major problem. Making sure our schools are better. I can just keep going. These are things that he should be concentrating on. We elected him to concentrate on those things.

"What I am disappointed at is the fact that these young men who are saying, hey, there's problems in our community, in urban America. Nobody is looking to address these issues and problems. That is what Colin is not standing up for the national anthem for because he wanted the shooting in our communities [to stop], he wanted better books and computers in our schools. So I think that all these players are exercising their right, and I think the President should really be focusing in on the issues at hand of our country and the people that live in our beautiful country and not those who are saying this is my right, this is my right to do what I am doing."

Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics, guard: "When someone is kneeling at the national anthem, it's much bigger than that. It's a human being thing. Knowing that intent on fighting the inequalities of certain things you have a problem with, I think that is every person's right to speak up and say what they feel on it, as long as it's not the intent to create more and more division between people."

Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets, guard: "It's a brotherhood. The NBA is a brotherhood. We've seen LeBron and Steph [Curry] go at it in the Finals the last couple years, so it's cool to see [James' support]. We all have respect for LeBron. He's the guy in our league. He's been the best player in the league for as long as I've been here [in the NBA]. It was really cool to see him step up and have Steph's back. We're a brotherhood, this whole league."

Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, guard: "I think it's great what's happening. We athletes have cameras in front of us, and in many cases people don't have that opportunity. The athletes that do have this opportunity, it's great what's going on in the NFL. What I always heard about this country is that it's a free country, and you have the freedom of speech, and doing it peacefully, and I'm all for it. It helps to understand some deeper issues that have been going on in this country for a long time. They've been very courageous, and it's something that's got to be done."

John Wall, Washington Wizards, guard (via CSNMA): "Most of our franchise guys and big-time players around the league are African-Americans. You have Chris Paul, you have Dwyane Wade, you have Carmelo Anthony, you have LeBron James -- they went and talked out at the ESPYS. African-American guys come from college and are great quarterbacks. You get to the NFL, and what do they try to do? Change our position. Why? Because franchise guys are quarterbacks. You have guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers -- love those guys, very talented. Until those guys come out and speak, I don't think the NFL is going to make any adjustments."

JJ Redick, Philadelphia 76ers, guard: "I don't think [this] has anything to do with being white. I've certainly never been oppressed because of the color of my skin, but I'm a human and can certainly relate to any emotions that humans have felt. I'm about as anti-Trump as you can get. I've been that way since the election. I think being anti-Trump at this point is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning. It's just something that you do during your day. How often do you go through a day and not be offended by the guy?"

Joakim Noah, New York Knicks, center: "I think it's great because we're finally talking about what's important. Obviously, I have my beliefs. I put in a lot of work in the neighborhoods trying to help at-risk youth. I have my opinions, but I respect this country a lot. ... We have to look at everything that's going on as a positive because we're finally talking about issues that are usually swept under the rug. Because somebody takes a knee, we're finally talking about what's important.

"I would make it a lot harder to get guns, No. 1. I mean, kids have access to guns in this country, and we [are not] even talking about it. Kids are killing each other at alarming rates, and it's still so easy to buy guns, to buy bullets.

"I would make more of an investment in the communities in the hood. There definitely needs to be more of an investment by these politicians. I think that's where violence-prevention starts, in these community centers. And if you go into these neighborhoods, there's not much going on. So I think if we can invest in the kids, I think the violence will go down."

Dwight Howard, Charlotte Hornets, center: "Would I go to the White House? I'd go to Dwight House.

"I think by the time we win the championship, which hopefully would be next summer, the world will be in a whole better place; the president will be in a better place. And we'd have an opportunity to go to the White House. We don't know. Life happens. But the trophy is the most important thing."

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks, forward: "It's disappointing times obviously. It's almost 2018. You'd hope stuff like that wouldn't be in the news anymore and wouldn't make news and be an issue, but it is. It's tough times for everyone, divisive times. You've got to do your best to stick together and promote love and all the good stuff instead of only bad stuff in the news. That's where I'm at."

Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers, guard: "As far as the protests go, I just want us all to be mindful of how it started. You know, this is about police brutality and everybody looking for equality. I think yesterday's protests are a direct response to what the president said. I just want us all to be mindful of how this stuff started in the first place.

"You know, if we're going to protest something, I want it to be for the actual issues at hand instead of just being spiteful.

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics, forward: "I think what's going on in football, with having the freedom to express their First Amendment right, I think that should be something that should be considered and understood. The president's made some comments, and he came at players and teams in the White House, etc. I think it's unconstitutional to do that, to tell them they don't have the right to speak on whatever they feel like their heart needs to be spoken on. That's what my take on it is. I think basketball and athletes have a tremendous opportunity with our platform to do something about it."

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards, guard: "I feel like, honestly, that's not a leader. For you to come out and, for one, disrespect a whole sport that the whole world basically loves and call people SOBs -- that's out of pocket to me. You have guys who won a championship, and they have the freedom of deciding whether or not they want to go, and when one man decides not to go, how in the world can you just take [away] an invite. That doesn't make any sense to me. To me, you're a clown. That's unacceptable. That's not what a leader does. Your job is supposed to bring everybody together. ...

"There's a lot of issues going on around the world. Puerto Rico doesn't have water or power -- they're still a part of the U.S. -- but you're worried about guys kneeling during the national anthem. Well, if you would actually look at the reason that they're kneeling versus your own personal pleasure, then you'd fully understand. But until you do that, you're not going to understand.

"I disagree with what he's doing. I disagree with his thoughts. Hopefully as a nation we can come together better and understand what's really at stake here and the disasters that are really going on in everyday life."

Enes Kanter, New York Knicks, center: "Seeing this amazing country go through this tough time is really breaking my heart. I've said this before, I think what happened in Charlottesville is an eye-opener and it shows that America still got a lot of work to do, especially with what's going on right now in the NFL and with Trump and everything.

"I just feel bad because when I look at America, when I was at a young age, it's about freedom of religion, freedom of speech, now all of these amazing people are going through this tough time, and it's breaking my heart. I'm not from here. I'm from Turkey. But still going through this with these guys, I feel them because I'm going through the same things with my country, too. It's tough, but I'm praying for you guys."

Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks, owner (to CNBC): "If [Mavericks players] would want to have, as a team, their feelings aired on our JumboTron before a game rather than trying to make a point through a secondary action, whether it's taking knees, joining arms, whatever it may be, let's just say what's on our mind and just be clear to fans what we think, and if we can take it from there and start a discussion in our community, then that's a good thing."

Seth Curry, Dallas Mavericks, guard: "I'm proud of the way that Steph and the whole Warriors organization handled that situation. I think they were very mature about it. I'm proud of the way Steph took a stand and didn't back down from it and things like that. That's a great role model for kids to look up to and for the country to look at.

"Guys like him, LeBron, some of those stars in the NBA who have spoken out, took their stands and have been positive and great leaders. I mean, if you can't look at the president as somebody who you can look up to, you have other people who you know their names that can set a good precedent for the way kids should act in this day and age."

Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors, president: "I'm 110 percent behind our players. I can guarantee one thing: Nobody is getting fired here. They have a platform. There's nobody getting fired here. You can quote me. I support all the players on what they said. Divide is not good in my opinion. I've seen tough places divided, especially with where I come from, it's not a good thing. ... Sports brings people together; it's not supposed to divide people."

Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat, head coach: "I commend the Golden State Warriors for the decision they made. I commend NFL players and organizations for taking a stand right now for equality, for inclusion, for taking a stand against racism, bigotry, prejudice.

"It is disheartening to see right now the divisiveness. We support our players and the other teams for their right to express themselves in a nonviolent way for a cause that needs to be addressed."

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics, head coach: "I've said this from day one: I knew all the great things about the NBA when I got into it, but I think I've been more pleasantly surprised by not only the leadership within the league but just how all the players, they're great leaders for young people in basketball. So when I watch LeBron [James] and watch Steph [Curry] and listen to [Steve] Kerr, you're proud to be a part of that.

"Ultimately, each of our players will choose that. We talk about that. We talk about trying to use, again, our platform to have positive discussion to talk about things like uniting. To talk all the time about, leaders unite and inspire people and misleaders divide. "

Jerryd Bayless, Philadelphia 76ers, guard: "[Trump's] narrow-minded views are not a good thing for the country. Now it's time to figure out as a whole -- black, white, Mexican, Asian, whatever -- how we are going to move forward, how we're going to come together so we can make him feel that what he is doing is wrong."