LeBron James is now the sixth most hated athlete in America after his decision to ditch Cleveland and join a superteam in Miami. He now says that part of the backlash he endured stems from racial issues. James made the comments in an interview that aired on CNN yesterday and is not backing down from the remarks.
CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien asked James if he thought his race had anything to do with the backlash.
"I think so at times," James replied. "It's always, you know, a race factor."
"It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure," agreed his marketing chief Maverick Carter.
The AP points out that many who have criticized James are African-American themselves, including Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley.
Though it's worth noting that the five players who are more hated than James -- Michael Vick, Terrell Owens, Tiger Woods, Chad Ochocinco, and Kobe Bryant -- are all African-American.
"I'm not going to go back on my words," James told reporters today. "People are looking too far into it. I said what I had to say and I'll continue to move on."
This isn't the first time racial issues have popped up in the LeBron saga. Following Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's childish, comic sans screed blasting LeBron after leaving the team, Jesse Jackson issued a statement claiming that Gilbert was treating James like "a runaway slave."
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