Prominent NBA figures boost political talk as midterms loom

Prominent NBA figures have ramped up their political rhetoric as midterm elections loom, criticizing President Trump, urging people to vote and throwing their support behind candidates.

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers spoke to Sports Illustrated in a wide-ranging interview published Tuesday and talked about his irritation with Trump.

“I look at Donald Trump right now, and I can’t stand 99.9 percent of what comes out of his mouth. I think he’s been the worst person that I can remember for race relations,” Rivers said when discussing how his opinions on race relations were formed, specifically in watching the race riots of the 1960s. "Having said that, attacking him does nothing. That only gives his base a stronger position.”

Rivers said the only way to change things is to go out and vote, and he praised Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James for taking a position without addressing the president.


“I think what LeBron James has done is special—he’s not talking about Trump, he’s doing good things. When you don’t like something, you get involved and you fight,” Rivers said. “More people will go to the next Drake concert than will vote, but when you want to create change, you should stand in line to vote. And volunteer.”

Rivers’ comments come two days after Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr discussed the state of the nation following Saturday’s shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, which left 11 dead.

Rivers slammed President Trump in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

Rivers slammed President Trump in an interview with Sports Illustrated. (AP)

“We’re broken right now,” Kerr said, adding the U.S. has gotten to a point where nothing shocks anyone anymore. “So nothing surprises us anymore, nothing surprises me anymore, whether it’s shootings at schools, churches, synagogues, malls, movie theaters. We need our leaders to step up, unite the country with the appropriate words, the appropriate actions, and we’re not getting that right now. It’s frustrating, and I don’t know what else to say.”

Kerr urged everyone to go out and vote, saying gun control was the most important issue to him.

“Those are all things we have to think about and try to accomplish to get our country back on track. And we need to vote. I want to urge everybody to get out and vote on Nov. 6. Everybody has their own issues that are important to them,” he said.

Kerr added: “My personal issue is gun safety, gun control. Nobody in this country should have a semi-automatic weapon of war. That’s my personal belief. So I’m going to vote for every candidate that’s willing to stand up to the NRA and say, ‘You know what? This is insane. We’re murdering each other every day.’”

While Rivers and Kerr have urged people to vote, James displayed his support for Texas Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke. O'Rourke is behind in the polls in his race against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.

James, on Saturday, was seen before his game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center wearing a hat that read “BETO.”

In August, James retweeted a clip of O’Rourke defending NFL players kneeling for the national anthem. James said the clip was a “must watch.”

O’Rourke was just five points behind Cruz in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.