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."
|Fulham have to stick together, says Ranieri|
|Nuno hails ´very special´ Wolves achievement after third straight win|
|Stuttgart captain Gentner´s father dies at Hertha fixture|
|Valverde not desperate for new centre-back amid talk of Christensen loan|
|Toulouse and Saracens stay perfect in Champions Cup|
|Kovac lauds Bayern´s best performance of the season|
|Barcelona can get the best out of Coutinho & Dembele, claims Valverde|
|Borussia Dortmund 2 Werder Bremen 1: Alcacer and Reus guarantee top spot for mid-season break|
|Bristol City 2 Norwich City 2: Canaries knocked off their perch despite late equaliser|
|Atletico´s fighting spirit lauded by Simeone, Godin|
|Hodgson relieved to see Palace end Zaha curse|
|Real Madrid 1 Rayo Vallecano 0: Benzema secures steady response to CSKA loss|
|Fulham 0 West Ham 2: Snodgrass, Antonio punish profligate hosts|
|Warnock brands refereeing situation ´a disgrace´ after Watford defeat|
|Inter 1 Udinese 0: Icardi penalty gets lethargic Nerazzurri back on track|
|Wagner retains belief in survival bid despite Newcastle defeat|
|Griezmann feeling the strain after busy 2018|
|Pochettino ´so pleased´ as tired Tottenham scrap to Burnley win|
|Man Utd hand Smalling new contract|
|ES Tunis 0 Al Ain 3: Convincing victory books River Plate semi|
|Championship Review: Bamford fires Leeds to summit, Middlesbrough defeated by QPR|
|Curry reacts to Kings´ trolling with moon landing video|
|Wentz ruled out of Rams clash|
|Pochettino reaches 100 Premier League wins for Tottenham faster than Wenger for Arsenal|
|Real Valladolid 2 Atletico Madrid 3: Griezmann the hero on landmark appearance|
|Silva rues Richarlison´s missed chances at City|
|Gibson has no worries over Proteas batsmen|
|Wolves 2 Bournemouth 0: Jimenez and Cavaleiro score against toothless Cherries|
|Crystal Palace 1 Leicester City 0: Captain Milivojevic earns vital victory|
|Watford 3 Cardiff City 2: Hornets hang on despite late fightback|
|Tottenham 1 Burnley 0: Eriksen snatches victory at the death|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Newcastle United 1: Rondon strike settles scrap|
|Sabres suspend forward Berglund for failing to report to the team|
|Saunders thanks Fury for getting him ´back on the right track´|
|Hannover 0 Bayern Munich 4: Gnabry and Kimmich star in crushing win|
|I admire Sterling – Guardiola|
|City´s strength in depth makes it hard for me – Jesus|
|Jamieson holds slender lead in Malelane|
|Kashima Antlers 3 Guadalajara 2: Comeback win sets up Real Madrid semi-final|
|Hosszu claims fourth Hangzhou gold, Le Clos beaten by Santos|
|Manchester City 3 Everton 1: Jesus at the double as City go top|
|Parker defiant on low blow claims after ending 2018 ´with a bang´|
|Alisson: Liverpool must beat Manchester United|
|Mourinho´s brutal honesty praised by Karanka|
|Fielding inspired by Bellew after overcoming setbacks to face Canelo|
|Mourinho loves being a manager ´more than ever´|
|Khawaja unconcerned by poor start to India series|
|WATCH: Dellavedova dives into media table to rescue possession|
|Christmas form could transform Man United´s season - Rashford|
|Urgent changes needed at Manchester United – Ferdinand|
|Ishant confident as Kohli carries India into day three|
|Modric takes aim at Simeone for ´constantly undermining Real Madrid´|
|Kevin Durant provides playoffs warning to inconsistent Warriors|
|A-League Review: Janjetovic off as Wanderers suffer derby defeat|
|VanVleet turnover the ´turning point´ in Raptors loss|
|Shanahan on Mahomes no-look pass: ´I do it all the time´|
|De Bruyne and Aguero return to City bench, Sterling left out of starting XI|
|Kohli and Rahane combine to thwart Australia in Perth|
|Modric cool on Madrid future beyond current deal|
|´Fatigued´ Embiid has a lot on his shoulders - Brown|
|Crespo agrees to take charge at Banfield|
|Westbrook on Murray scuffle: He was in my way|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Van Dijk the rock on which Klopp can build a title triumph|
|Marcelo ´never´ considered Madrid exit amid Juventus links|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Resurgent Rashford now a leader for Mourinho|
|Injury-plagued Nuggets beat Thunder to hold Western Conference lead|
|Southee takes five as Sri Lanka recover in Wellington|
|Kings troll Curry by playing clips of moon landing|
|Guardiola: Premier League title race similar to Barca-Madrid battles|
|Ovechkin joins rare NHL club with second straight hat-trick|