LeBron James is sticking up for Serena Williams.
The Los Angeles Laker, 33, elaborated on his support for the tennis pro in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Thursday, denouncing the treatment she received while participating in the U.S. Open women’s singles final on Sept. 8.
Williams sparked national headlines when she got into a verbal spat with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her match with 20-year-old Naomi Osaka.
The new mom became angry when Ramos said her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was violating the rules by giving her hand signals from the stands.
An upset Williams confronted Ramos: “This is unbelievable. Every time I play here, I have problems.”
She added: “I don’t cheat. I didn’t get coaching. How can you say that?”
The argument got especially heated when the umpire penalized Williams a point, resulting in her loss. Williams then referred to Ramos as a “thief.”
Although Mouratoglou admitted to coaching the athlete, he argued she didn’t catch his signal and that he was acting no differently than “100 percent of the coaches in 100 percent of the matches.”
Williams was ultimately fined $10,000 for verbally abusing the umpire, $4,000 for a coaching violation and $3,000 for throwing her racket to the ground in frustration and breaking it.
James ultimately thinks the argument between Ramos and Williams speaks to a larger issue.
“What we all have to understand is what she is fighting for is bigger than just that match,” the NBA star said to THR. “She is fighting for equality — always having to win more, more, more, just to feel equal.”
The Ohio native also empathized with Williams’ plight as an African-American woman in a “predominantly white sport.”
“Being an African-American woman playing in a predominantly white sport, she’s dealing with so much more,” he added. “I have no idea what was going on in her head, but I feel that struggle.”
James and Williams have been friends for years, and they both starred in Nike’s February 2017 ad campaign called “Equality.”
Nike praised the athletes and other competitors in the ad for “amplifying their voices in an effort to uplift, open eyes and bring the positive values that sport can represent into wider focus.”
Watch Equality below.