Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James used media day at the NBA All-Star weekend to sarcastically thank radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham for her comments after he and Kevin Durant criticised United States president Donald Trump.
James and Golden State Warriors star Durant were criticised by Ingraham after the pair hit out at Trump in a video via Uninterrupted.
Ingraham told the duo to "shut up and dribble" the basketball as Durant accused her of racism.
"I appreciate her for giving me even more awareness, at the greatest weekend of the NBA," James, who is one of the team captains for Sunday's All-Star game, said at Staples Center on Saturday. "This is the best weekend of the NBA, when the countries in the whole entire world come watch the greatest players in the world.
"I get to sit up here and talk about social injustice and equality and why a woman on a certain network decided to tell me to 'Shut up and dribble. So, thank you, whatever her name is.
"I get to sit up here and talk about what's really important and how I can help change kids, not only in America, but in Brazil, England, Mexico and all over."
James corrected Ingraham, who said the three-time NBA champion tried to leave high school a year early to enter the NBA, by saying he actually did graduate from high school.
"We're back to everything I've been talking about over the last few years," James said. "It lets me know that everything I've been saying has been correct, for her to have that type of reaction. But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I meant too much to so many kids who feel like they don't have a way out and need someone to help lead them out of the situation they're in.
"You know, to be an African-American kid and grow up in the inner city with a single parent, mother, and not being financially stable and to make it where I've made it today, I think I've defeated the odds."
Ingraham's comments about James and Durant were criticised as racist because she has been silent when white NBA coaches Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr have often been critical of Trump's administration.
She defended her "shut up and dribble" segment and even invited James on her show "anytime."
"Do I feel like her comments were racist? Well, listen, race is a part of our country, and we know that. I think the engine that she sits behind doesn't have a great rap sheet when it comes to race in our country and things of that nature," James said. "There's been many people that's not African-American that spoke upon the same issues that I spoke upon, and they didn't say anything to them. So you can look at it as being racist or you could look at it saying it's just racial tension, which we already know that. That goes without saying.
"I don't think we sit here and say, 'Oh, she's racist or that's racial tension,' I'm surprised. We know that was going on. I'm just trying to shed a greater light and a positive light on the bad aura or the energy that some of the people are trying to give to the people of America and to the world.
"I'm not the negative side. Me having this platform, I'm just trying to shed a positive light on what I feel like is right. Am I always right? Can I have everybody follow me? I don't think so. But I'm looking at my boys right here, teaching them what's right and what's wrong, and we see what happens after that."
|O´Neal thinks his Lakers teams could ´easily´ beat Warriors|
|A-League to add two clubs by 2020|
|Curry says he was ´obviously joking´ about moon landing comments|
|Now the beautiful part starts – Ronaldo ready for Champions League knockout stage|
|Bayern have a lot more potential – Lewandowski not satisfied despite top spot|
|Lyon star Fekir shares plaudits for Champions League progression|
|Mourinho not surprised by United´s defeat to Valencia|
|Motivation no issue for Benfica, claims Vitoria|
|Lewandowski finishes Champions League group stage as top scorer|
|Mourinho: We scored two goals and lost 2-1!|
|England have a diamond - Guardiola hails City´s Foden|
|Sterling´s carefree display invites us to love football more than others hate|
|Juventus achieved their objective, despite everything going wrong – Allegri|
|Never say never - Schmidt not ruling out All Blacks role|
|Bologna´s winning start ended in BCL|
|Di Francesco critical of Roma performance|
|Shakhtar Donetsk 1 Lyon 1: Fekir fires French side through in Group F|
|Benfica 1 AEK Athens 0: Grimaldo sends hosts out on a high|
|Young Boys 2 Juventus 1: Hoarau double seals famous victory|
|Manchester City 2 Hoffenheim 1: City through as group winners after Sane brace|
|Ajax 3 Bayern Munich 3: Kovac´s men clinch top spot in Amsterdam thriller|
|Valencia 2 Manchester United 1: Jones scores own goal as Red Devils limp through|
|Solari accepts responsibility for Madrid´s heaviest home defeat in Europe|
|WATCH: Rooney backs Rocky ahead of Canelo showdown|
|McLaren to collaborate with Team Bahrain Merida|
|Las Vegas to host 2020 NFL Draft|
|Stade teenager tragically dies after neck injury|
|Cahill may need to leave Chelsea if he wants to play, admits Sarri|
|Viktoria Plzen 2 Roma 1: Chory winner takes hosts into Europa League|
|Real Madrid 0 CSKA Moscow 3: Champions humiliated at Bernabeu|
|Sarri condemns ´disgusting´ Sterling abuse|
|Hansen hails outstanding Ben Smith ahead of Pau switch|
|Foden, Sterling start for Manchester City v Hoffenheim|
|Sky decision will not affect us in 2019, insist Froome and Thomas|
|Al Ain 3 Team Wellington 3 (aet, 4-3 on penalties): Shootout heartbreak for semi-pros in Club World|
|Jackson to remain Ravens´ starting QB despite Flacco return|
|Rams headline 2019 NFL International Series home teams|
|Rams headline International Series home teams for 2019|
|Atlanta want ´exciting football´ from new boss amid Bielsa links|
|Atlanta still yet to receive ´serious´ bid for ´Bale-like´ Almiron|
|Tottenham v Manchester United to be held at Wembley|
|Matip facing six weeks out with fractured collarbone|
|I´ve had quite a lot of calls – Brailsford encouraged by Team Sky interest|
|Afghanistan Football Federation president provisionally banned by FIFA|
|Knee injury rules Huddersfield´s Mooy out of Asian Cup|
|Arnautovic tipped for Man United move by Austria team-mate Sabitzer|
|Arsenal legend Adams to become RFL president|
|My love for football still burns strong – Toure speaks out amid talk of Premier League return|
|Noble contract extended to 2021|
|Split with Sky is an opportunity, says Brailsford|
|Van der Burgh rolls back the years, two more medals for Hosszu|
|Maitland-Niles praises Sterling for speaking out|
|Life is tough for him right now - Celtic striker Griffiths to take time away from football|
|Froome: Team Sky keen to continue with new partner|
|Emery confirms Koscielny to play against Qarabag|
|Llorente keen on Athletic return|
|I love the guy - Pocock backs under-pressure Cheika|
|Fit-again Ozil in line for Arsenal return against Qarabag|
|Raheem Sterling named Premier League Player of the Month|
|Two more Ligue 1 games postponed due to unrest|
|Pace attack among India´s best ever - Arun|
|Premier League has fostered ´excessive aggression´ among fans, says Scudamore|
|Sharks back Flanagan amid NRL investigation|
|Not good for my recovery! Hoddle delights in Spurs´ Champions League heroics|
|Harris backing Starc to fire in Perth|
|No fears over Atleti´s second-place finish for Simeone|
|Clippers buckled under Raptors pressure - Rivers|
|Icardi: Inter deserved to qualify|
|Team Sky future unclear as Sky opt to end involvement in cycling|
|PSG had to change mentality - Thiago Silva|