LeBron James: Race Played Role In 'Decision' Backlash

LeBron James appeared on the CNN program "Rick's List" on Wednesday night and the NBA superstar said he believes race was a factor in the negative feedback he received after "The Decision."

CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien mentioned that James's brand and name were "tarnished" because of his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in such a public fashion and asked if race played a role in the backlash.

"I think so at times," James replied. "It's always, you know, a race factor."

Maverick Carter, a 28-year-old who is one of James's closest advisers, said race "definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media, things that were written for sure."

According to James's recent Q scores, a measurement of popularity, his positive Q rating among African Americans dropped from 52 percent in January to 39 percent in September. His negative Q rating increased from 14 percent to 15 percent. Some believe race plays a role in these ratings.

Throughout the summer after James joined his friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, he received an enormous amount of criticism from past NBA stars, fans and his former employer, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

Following "The Decision," Gilbert wrote an open letter to Cavaliers fans and called James "narcissistic." Gilbert also wrote that LeBron's departure from his hometown was a "cowardly betrayal."

Rev. Jesse Jackson said he believes Gilbert's letter personified "a slave master mentality." Gilbert denied Jackson's claims and said his letter had nothing to do with slavery.