Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James faced criticism on Tuesday for how he entered the Galen Center to watch his son, Bronny, play in his first collegiate game following his cardiac arrest of the summer.
Orange County Register reporter Luca Evans posted the video on X of James walking into the arena with his younger son Bryce and two of his Sierra Canyon High School teammates. The video showed James enter the arena while the national anthem was playing.
X users noticed that James immediately sat in his chair as “The Star-Spangled Banner” blared on the speakers and failed to remove his hat — which is customary to do during the national anthem. He stands toward the end of the video.
He was immediately criticized for allegedly having “zero respect” for the U.S. as well as hating the country because he didn’t stand for the anthem.
As the video got picked up, Evans pushed back on the criticism.
“As the reporter who took this video, this is gross and completely mischaracterizes the situation,” he wrote on X. “LeBron has done this for YEARS in Bronny’s time at Sierra Canyon. It’s objectively the best time to walk in so he doesn’t cause a massive stir. Stop it.”
James and other NBA players famously knelt during the national anthem in 2020 and wore shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” in protest of the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake. The NBA played games in the bubble and the Blake shooting coupled with the death of George Floyd was on players’ minds during that summer.
The Lakers star at the time said he hoped they made Colin Kaepernick “proud.”
“Kap was someone who stood up when times weren’t comfortable. When people didn’t understand, when people refused to listen to what he was saying,” he said at the time. “You go back and look at any of his postgame interviews when he was talking about why he was kneeling — it had absolutely nothing to do about the flag, he had absolutely nothing to do about soldiers.”
By all accounts, James hasn’t knelt during the national anthem since 2020.