LeBron James said Thursday that "violence is not the answer and retaliation isn't the solution" in the wake of recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers.

"As a society," he said, "we just have to do better."

Calling it a "sensitive subject," the Cleveland Cavaliers star said he prays for "the families that have lost loved ones." But James said he was avoiding speaking about specific cases "because I'm not a part of it."

Largely peaceful protests have occurred in New York City the last two days in the wake of a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict the NYPD officer whose chokehold killed an unarmed Eric Garner. That came on the heels of a decision by a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, not to indict a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black teenager.

Protests also occurred in Cleveland after reports that a police officer there fatally shot Tamir Rice, 12, who was carrying a BB gun.

"It's more troubling that it's happening in our country because this is our country and this is the land of the free," James said. "We keep having these incidents happen, innocent victims or whatever the case may be, families are losing loved ones.

"I'm not pointing the blame at anybody that's making it happen. I think it's just society, we've come a long way, but it just goes to show you how much further we have to go."

Said the Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire: "I think it's something that's, it's very alarming in our country as far as that's concerned. We have to be more conscientious of what the law enforcement's job is, and that's to protect and serve. Those two words are very strong when you think about that. Your first job is to protect and your second job is to serve. Obviously, it's not happening that way. So we've got to figure out a way to create a better economic unity for all of the have-nots.''

With Al Iannazzone