WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House Adviser Jared Kushner on Thursday said he would reach out to basketball superstar LeBron James following an NBA player boycott to protest racial injustice in the wake of a police shooting that paralyzed a Black man in Wisconsin.
The National Basketball Association postponed all three of its playoff games on Wednesday after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their series against the Orlando Magic to protest racial injustice, triggering similar moves across other sports.
The action by the Bucks, a team based in Wisconsin, came in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the Wisconsin city of Kenosha on Sunday.
“I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive. And again, President Trump in this White House is willing to work with them,” Kushner said in an interview with Politico.
Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, added that the White House would be happy to talk with James and that he would reach out to the Los Angeles Lakers star on Thursday. James has been critical of Trump and previously accused the Republican president, who is seeking re-election on Nov. 3, of trying to use sports to divide Americans.
James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, wrote on Twitter: “WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.”
In the Kenosha shooting, Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year police veteran, fired seven times at Blake’s back, striking him four times, as he walked away from police and entered his car. Blake survived despite injuries to his spine and multiple organs, and he may be permanently paralyzed, his family lawyers said.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Will Dunham and Chizu Nomiyama)