-- LeBron James told ESPN.com that he does not let his sons, LeBron Jr. and Bryce Maximus, play football.
When asked whether the reason for his decision was the health dangers related to football, James replied, "Yes."
James elaborated on his thoughts Thursday.
"We don't want them to play in our household right now until they understand how physical and how demanding the game is. Then they can have their choice in high school, we'll talk over it," he said. "But right now there's no need for it. There's enough sports they can play. They play basketball, they play soccer, they play everything else but football and hockey.
"It's a safety thing. As a parent you protect your kids as much as possible. I don't think I'm the only one that's not allowing his kids to play football, it's just that I'm LeBron James and it gets put in the headlines for no reason."
In addition to being one of the most highly touted high school basketball players of all time, James was an all-state wide receiver at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. He stopped playing football after his junior season because of a broken wrist suffered in the offseason.
James, who in the past has called football his first love, remains a huge NFL and college football fan.
He said on Thursday that before he concentrated on basketball, football provided a possible avenue for him to escape the inner city.
"I needed a way out,'' he said. "My kids don't need a way out. They're all right. I needed a way out when I was a kid. I tried to do whatever it took to get out. That's my excuse."
James said 7-year-old Bryce Maximus plays soccer, among other sports, while LeBron Jr., 10, is beginning to focus on basketball.
This summer, James brought his boys to the Browns' training camp, where they played catch on a side field as the team worked out.