James has been an outspoken critic of Trump, calling him a “bum” in a viral tweet earlier this year for instance. Many have accused the president of sowing racial discord in the US. He has equivocated on violent white supremacists, while adopting a drastically harsher tone when black athletes have quietly protested the shootings of black Americans by police.

The shoes are actually part of an ongoing “equality” campaign by Nike, which calls attention to the discrimination faced by black Americans. “Is this the land history promised?” one of its ads from earlier this year began.

Nike's "Equality" ad
Nike’s “Equality” ad.
Image: Nike

James wore black “equality” sneakers in the Cavs’ season opener against the Boston Celtics in October. According to Cleveland.com, his Nike rep showed him the new shoes before the Wizards game, and he opted to go with the clearly symbolic mix of one white and one black shoe.

James switched to a pair of burgundy sneakers for the second half of the game because he’s superstitious, he said, and wasn’t playing well in the others. Even so, he finished with a triple-double (20 points, 12 rebounds, and 15 assists), and the Cavs won the game 106-99.

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