LeBron James is aware of his status as the most famous athlete in America. He knows his every word and movement is endlessly scrutinized.

James used that stage Sunday, stepping onto the Capital One Arena court in the nation’s capital in footwear with a message: a white Nike on his left foot and a black shoe on his right, “EQUALITY.” in gold capital letters on each of them.

“Obviously we all know where we are right now, and we know who is at the helm here,” James said, referencing the president he’s sparred with on social media. “Us as Americans, no matter the skin color, no matter the race, no matter who you are, I think we all have to understand that having equal rights and being able to stand for something and speak for something and keeping the conversation going.

“Obviously I’ve been very outspoken and well spoken about the situation that’s going on at the helm here, and we’re not going to let one person dictate us, us as Americans, how beautiful and how powerful we are as a people. Equality is all about understanding our rights, understanding what we stand for and how powerful we are as men and women, black or white or Hispanic.

“It doesn’t matter your race, whatever the case may be. This is a beautiful country, and we’re never going to let one person dictate how beautiful and how powerful we are.”

The ball is now in President Trump’s court, as he may again challenge an athlete on social media, but whether a response ever comes isn’t the point. The fact James was willing to put himself in this position in the first place only reaffirms the place he’s created for himself within American society.

Less than two weeks before his 33rd birthday and well into his 15th NBA season, James is still the undisputed best player on the planet, completely at ease with his surroundings and in tune with what is happening around him. And, as he moves into his mid-30s, he also finds himself with the platform to make an impact socially and the willingness to use it.

“Stand for something of power and change or don’t stand for anything!” James wrote on Instagram after the game, highlighting the shoes in the photo.

James could have chosen to stick to sports and allowed his game to speak for him, like Michael Jordan and plenty of other stars. With hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsement deals on the line, the fact that “Republicans buy sneakers, too” — the line Jordan once apparently uttered — certainly could apply to the business empire James continues to create.

He has done the opposite, becoming the leader of a vocal chorus of NBA players who have not only taken on Trump over the past year, but have spoken out on a variety of social issues. From gun violence to the end of Donald Sterling’s tenure as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, to the death of Muhammad Ali and the vandalizing of James’s house in Los Angeles with racist graffiti, to protesting the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, James has used the platform available to him to push for equality and justice.

“Nike had it in the works,” James said of the “EQUALITY” shoes. “When they showed me today, I was like, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”

Meanwhile, on the court James remains just about as good as he’s ever been. Sunday’s 27-point, 12-rebound, 15-assist triple-double — his third in a row — lifted Cleveland to its 18th win in 19 games.

“I’m just in a good groove,” James said, “and I’ll probably be here for a while.”

James was referring to his play, but he could have been talking his performance away from basketball.

He is not only the most powerful player on a basketball court, but increasingly our most influential athlete, as well.

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