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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, September 06, 2018 1:00 am

James supports Kaepernick deal

JOCELYN NOVECK | Associated Press

NEW YORK – Clutching his young daughter in his arms, LeBron James said he stands with Nike, a clear reference to the company's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign.

The basketball superstar – and new Los Angeles Laker – made the remarks as he received an award Tuesday for both his style and his philanthropy from Harlem's Fashion Row. The fashion collective partnered with Nike for the New York event, both a fashion show and an awards ceremony that focused on diversity in the fashion world. The evening culminated in the reveal of the latest LeBron James Nike basketball shoe: a women's sneaker designed by three female African-American designers and inspired by strong African-American women.

In emotional remarks, James paid tribute to the three women in his life – his mother, wife and 3-year-old daughter, Zhuri.

He noted how his mother had raised him alone, and given him “a sense of pride, a sense of strength, a sense of no worry.”

“Because of you, Gloria James, I'm able to be in a position today where I can give back and showcase why I believe African-American women are the most powerful women in the world.”

The NBA star, who was wearing one of his favored shrunken-fit shorts suits, called his daughter “my rock.”

“People always told me if you ever have a girl, she'll change you,” said James, who also has two sons. “I was like, nobody's changing me, I'm a man.” But she did, he said.

“Not only did she change me, she's made me a better person,” James said. “A more dedicated person, a stronger person, I guess a more sensitive person.”

Closing his remarks, he said he stood “for anybody who believes in change.” He added: “I stand with Nike, all day, every day.”

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, unveiled his first ad of the new campaign Monday. “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” it said.

The new endorsement deal has sparked vigorous debate, with some fans expressing displeasure over the apparel giant's support of a player known for starting a wave of protests among NFL players against police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues.

Some angry fans were even burning and cutting out the signature swoosh logos on their gear – and posting the results on social media.