LeBron James said he thinks race played a factor in the backlash to his nationally televised announcement that he was signing with the Miami Heat.
He first made the comments in a CNN interview that aired Wednesday, then reiterated his feelings after the Heat's practice Thursday. James has been criticized for announcing that he would leave the Cavaliers for Miami in July in an hourlong ESPN special called "The Decision," with some accusing him of letting his ego get away from him.
Asked if race was a factor in the fallout, James told CNN's Soledad O'Brien in the interview, which was conducted Monday, "I think so, at times. There's always — you know, a race factor."
James' closest advisor also said race played a role in the negative reaction.
"It definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media and things that were written, for sure," Maverick Carter told O'Brien in an interview Friday.
James declined to expand on his comments Thursday.
"I'm not going to go back on my words," he said. "I answered the question. I think people are looking too far into it. But, at the same time, sometimes it does play a part in it.
"But I've said what I have to say and I continue to move on."
Forward Chris Bosh, who left the Toronto Raptors to join James and Dwyane Wade in Miami, said he could appreciate James' sentiment on race being part of any equation.
"Different people have their different opinions," Bosh said. "If that is a factor, that's something that's embedded and people don't really realize it. But, hopefully, we've moved past it."
Wade said race is an issue that can permeate any aspect of life or sport.
"You can say that about anything in this world," he said. "So I really don't get into it. It's unfortunate, the backlash that came from his decision."
Mavericks waive Tim Thomas so he can care for wife
Forward Tim Thomas plans to take a season off to tend to his ailing wife, so the Dallas Mavericks put him on waivers. He would become a free agent if he goes unclaimed. The 13-year veteran missed most of last season caring for his wife, who is dealing with an undisclosed illness.
The Indiana Pacers exercised their third-year option on center Roy Hibbert, guaranteeing his contract through 2011-12. Hibbert averaged 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks as a rookie.
The Toronto Raptors exercised their option on swingman DeMar DeRozan for the 2011-12 season. DeRozan, who was selected ninth overall in the 2009 draft out of USC, averaged 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in his rookie season.
PGA Tour lifts golfer's suspension for doping
One year after he became the first player suspended by the PGA Tour under its antidoping rules, Doug Barron is again eligible to compete on the PGA or Nationwide tours after his one-year suspension was lifted.
Barron tested positive for a beta-blocker and testosterone last year. He had sought therapeutic use exemptions for propranolol, the beta-blocker, and testosterone.
He was denied those requests and after attempting to sue the PGA Tour for the right to play, Barron eventually accepted the suspension.
"I have submitted new medical information that meets the criteria set forth by the PGA Tour Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee and am pleased to announce that they granted me a TUE for testosterone that will allow me to treat my condition in compliance with the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy," Barron said in a statement Thursday. "After now having completed my one year suspension, I look forward to again being eligible to compete on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour."
Barron will face a tough road back to full-time PGA Tour status. He has not played full time on the tour since 2006 and was last a full-time Nationwide Tour player in 2008.
Six golfers share lead at Viking Classic
India's Arjun Atwal was among six players who shared the lead at six-under-par 66 after the first round of the PGA Tour's Viking Classic at Madison, Miss. Atwal is playing for the first time since he won the Wyndham Championship five weeks ago.
Atwal had seven birdies and one bogey en route to his 66, which was matched by Bill Haas, Bill Lunde, Ken Duke, Brett Quigley and Brendon de Jonge. Charlie Wi was among four players a shot back at five under.
Penguins' Staal not expected to be ready for start of season
Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal has no timetable for his return from a right foot injury, but he is not expected to be ready for the start of the season.
Staal had a tendon severed in a foot when he was cut by an opponent's skate during the playoffs last season. He had surgery but subsequently suffered an infection that hampered him throughout the off-season. Staal said he hopes to begin workouts next week.
Carolina Hurricanes forward Sergei Samsonov was put on injured reserve because of a neck injury and will not travel to Finland for the team's opening regular season games against the Minnesota Wild next week. Samsonov was injured during an exhibition game Saturday when he was tripped into the boards.
The Edmonton Oilers put defenseman Sheldon Souray, who had been barred from training camp after criticizing management and demanding a trade during the off-season, on waivers. The Oilers also waived goaltender Martin Gerber.
Galaxy, Chivas USA stars won't play in U.S. exhibition games
Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle and Omar Gonzalez of the Galaxy were left off the U.S. national soccer team's roster for exhibition games this month against Poland and Colombia, as was Chivas USA's Jonathan Bornstein. U.S. Coach Bob Bradley opted not to include players from MLS teams that are in postseason races. The U.S will take on Poland in Chicago on Oct. 9 and Colombia in Philadelphia on Oct. 12.