Just because LeBron James is the face of his league doesn't mean he parses his words when talking about another.
The longtime NBA superstar and Los Angeles Lakers centerpiece invited Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley to talk NFL on a recent episode of his HBO series, "The Shop," and it's safe to say he didn't hold back.
A previous clip of the episode showed James critiquing the NFL by comparing it to the NBA.
"The difference between the NBA and the NFL -- the NBA is, like, what we believe he can be, what we believe he can be, the potential," LeBron said. "And the NFL, it's like, what can you do for me this Sunday, or this Monday, or this Thursday? And if you ain't it, we movin' on."
As the Washington Post reported Saturday, however, James actually went much further than that.
"In the NFL, they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality," the three-time NBA champion said, per The Post. "And it's like, 'This is my team. You do what the [explicit] I tell y'all to do. Or we get rid of y'all.' I'm so appreciative in our league of our commissioner [Adam Silver]. He doesn't mind us having … a real feeling and to be able to express that. It doesn't even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out. As long as we are doing it in a very educational, non-violent way, then he's absolutely OK with it."
James' words shouldn't be entirely shocking to anyone who followed NFL players' very public dispute with team owners and league rules over social activism and on-field protests in recent years. But they still mark a profound stance for one of sports' biggest names.
James went on to suggest that both the NFL and NBA should acknowledge that it's the players -- not the billionaire owners -- who drive fans to their sports anyway.
"The players are who make the ship go," he said. "We make it go. Every Sunday, without Todd Gurley and without Odell Beckham Jr., without those players, those guys, there is no football."