LeBron James just hinted that he could run for president in 2020

  • LeBron James has hinted at one scenario in which he could be tempted into challenging Donald Trump for the US presidency in 2020.
  • Education and racial harmony would most likely feature prominently on his presidential ticket.
  • James recently opened an educational facility for 240 at-risk students.
  • 2020 is likely to come too soon, however, as James just signed a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

 


The number 23 has long been synonymous with LeBron James' career in the NBA, but the number 2020 could play a more significant part in the athlete's life after sport.

The basketball superstar has acknowledged one scenario in which he "may" go head-to-head with President Donald Trump in the 2020 US election.

James recently sat down for an interview with the CNN host Don Lemon in which he discussed his decision to open a school in Ohio, his thoughts on racial inequality in America, and the conditions required for him to compete against Trump.

Asked by Lemon whether he would ever consider running for political office, James initially said "I don't think so" and then "I don't know." When given a hypothetical scenario in which Trump had no viable competition and would be guaranteed to win reelection if James, who has been critical of the president, did not run, James suggested he might.

 

"Well in that case I may," James said. "Yeah, if they have no one. I mean, I believe there are some people out there, I hope. Let's see. Let's see first."

Education could rank high on James' political agenda after he opened the I Promise educational facility, a school for 240 at-risk students.

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LeBron James' I Promise school
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LeBron James' I Promise school
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: Confetti erupts after the ceremonial raising of the new school flag at the grand opening of the I Promise school on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The new school is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and Akron Public Schools. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: The entrance of the new I Promise school on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The new school is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and Akron Public Schools. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: A display of LeBron James' sneakers in the lobby of the new I Promise school on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The new school is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and Akron Public Schools. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: Large inspirational murals at the I Promise school on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The new school is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and Akron Public Schools. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: LeBron James addresses the media following the grand opening of the I Promise school on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The new school is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and Akron Public Schools. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: Classroom signs at the I Promise school on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The new school is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and Akron Public Schools. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: A collection of LeBron James shoes decorate the entrance to the I Promise School on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The School is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and the Akron Public School and is designed to serve Akron's most challenged students. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: The Singing Angels perform at the grand opening of the I Promise School on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The new school is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and Akron Public Schools. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: A collection of LeBron James shoes decorate the entrance to the I Promise School on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The School is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and the Akron Public School and is designed to serve Akron's most challenged students. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: LeBron James addresses the crowd during the opening ceremonies of the I Promise School on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
AKRON, OH - JULY 30: The Goodyear blimp flies over the I Promise School prior to the arrival of LeBron James on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The School is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and the Akron Public School and is designed to serve Akron's most challenged students. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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James, a three-time NBA champion, wanted to create the school toprovide opportunities for children who face difficult life or social situations . The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. because, James says, he wants the kids in school instead of on the street.

"For kids in general all they want to know is that someone cares," he told CNN. "And when they walk through that door I hope they know that someone cares."

James has become politically outspoken over the past few years, particularly over racial issues, and during his conversation with Lemon he accused Trump of intentionally being divisive.

"Our president is using sport to divide us, and that's something I can't relate to because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white," James said. "And I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them and they got an opportunity to learn about me and we became very good friends."

James once had to explain racism to his children when vandalspainted the N-word over his Los Angeles property .

"No matter how big you can become, no matter how successful you are, no matter what you do in the community or in your profession, being African-American in America is tough, and they always going to let you know that you are the 'N-word' — no matter who you are," he told CNN.

James then offered advice to black youths on how to overcome racism. "When you're an African-American kid, male or female, you're always going to be against obstacles," he said. "You can allow it to affect you, or you can allow it to empower you and rise above it.

"When you look at the greatest leaders of our time, Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King, after all the adversity they went through, they never let it down them. They used it as motivation to be more powerful — and they are the reason we are here today."

Could James be a leader like Ali or King?

Though James has reached the top of basketball, he has a reputation for being coachable and professional.

Business Insider spoke with Phil Handy, an NBA coach who knows James better than most, in London last year , and Handy told us that James "studies, wants to be challenged, and wants to be coached." Those skills could transfer should James want to learn more about governmental departments that focus on energy, housing and urban development, and defense.

Handy also said James was a born leader and a focused worker. While at the Cavaliers, he said, James was "one of the first guys in the building."

29 PHOTOS
LeBron James through the years
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LeBron James through the years
File photo of high school basketball star LeBron James getting set for a foul shot during the annual Jordan Capital Classic high school all-star game in Washington, April 17, 2003. James will hold a press conference at his high shool in Akron, Ohio April 25, 2003, where he is expected to state his intentions concerning the upcoming NBA draft. James is expected to be the number one pick should he make himself available for the draft. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn-Files GMH/HB
Lebron James announces his entrance into the NBA draft, during a press conference at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, April 25, 2003. The six-foot-eight James, 18, is expected by many to be the number one selection in the draft on June 26. REUTERS/Jason Cohn JC/HB
LeBron James (R) shakes hands with National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first pick in the 2003 NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York, June 26, 2003. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton PM
Cleveland Cavaliers first draft pick LeBron James speaks with reporters following a picture session at Gund Arena, in Cleveland, October 2, 2003. REUTERS/Ron Kuntz RK/ME
Cleveland Cavalier rookie forward LeBron James (23) shoots over New Orleans Hornets defenders Baron Davis (1) and David Wesley (4), in the fourth period of NBA action in Cleveland, Ohio, December 23, 2003. James 22 points was the high scorer for the Cavaliers who defeated the Hornets 97-86. REUTERS/Marc Serota MS
Paul Pierce (R) of the Boston Celtics and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers chat while the scoreboard is fixed during the fourth quarter of their game at Gund Arena, February 9, 2004. The Cavaliers won, 97-89. REUTERS/Ron Kuntz RK
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (C) gets a layup as Seattle Supersonics forward Rashad Lewis (L) and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki look on, during the first half of the 54th NBA All-Star Game in Denver, February 20, 2005. REUTERS/John Gress JM
Eastern Conference forward LeBron James holds the Most Valuable Player trophy at the 55th NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas February 19, 2006. The East defeated the Western Conference 122-120. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James questions a call during their NBA playoff game against the Washington Wizards in Washington May 5, 2006 Cleveland defeated Washington, 114-113, to advance in the NBA playoffs. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Forward LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, works on his jump shot at morning practice during the first day of training camp for the USA men's basketball team in Las Vegas July 19, 2006. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots over New York Knicks forward Quentin Richardson (L) and guard Stephon Marbury (R) in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game in New York's Madison Square Garden, November 13, 2006. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James is seen on the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, California, February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James goes through his pregame powder ritual prior to the start of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first round NBA playoff basketball game in Cleveland, Ohio April 25, 2007. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James answers media questions before practice for their NBA Finals basketball series against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Texas, June 8, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (L) celebrates after dunking against the New Orleans Hornets David West during the NBA All-Star basketball game in New Orleans, Louisiana February 17, 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (L) is guarded by Chicago Bulls Thabo Sefolosha (R) during the first quarter of their NBA basketball game in Cleveland, April 3, 2008. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James drives to the basket during the third quarter of their NBA basketball game in Cleveland January 9, 2009. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James sits with his girlfriend Savana Brinson and son Bryce Maximus during the Rookie Challenge at the NBA All-Star basketball weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, February 13, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James speaks after being named the NBA Most Valuable Player during a ceremony at his alma mater St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James celebrates after Mario Chalmers scored a three pointer against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) stands with Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade during Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Dallas, June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James watches a shot against the Dallas Mavericks through the net during the second half in Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 2, 2011. REUTERS/David J. Phillip/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James dunks against the Washington Wizards in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida December 15, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James speaks at a press conference after his team defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami, Florida June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dec 19, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) makes a pass against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James wears an " I Can't Breathe" t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn, New York, December 8, 2014. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
June 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James speaks to media following the 104-91 loss against the Golden State Warriors in game five of the NBA Finals. at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after beating the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 21: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pauses on the court during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Quicken Loans Arena on January 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Spurs defeated the Cavaliers 118-115. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Ultimately, 2020 may come too soon for James, as he only recentlysigned a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

James is set to return to basketball for the 2018-2019 season, which begins in late October and will end in mid-April. Should the Lakers make the playoffs, the team's season could carry on until June.

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