NBA stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry will not emulate the US national anthem protest by American football player Colin Kaepernick.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick, 28, has been refusing to stand for the anthem in protest against the plight of black people.
The NBA has a rule stating players must stand for the national anthem.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ James, 31, said it “doesn’t mean I don’t respect and don’t agree with what Kaepernick is doing”.
He added: “Standing for the national anthem is something I will do.
“You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion and he’s [Kaepernick] doing it in the most peaceful way I’ve ever seen someone do something.”
Golden State Warriors’ guard Curry, 28, praised Kaepernick’s actions, adding: “I respect everybody’s voice, everybody’s platform. Kaepernick took a bold step to continue the conversation.”
Racial tensions are mounting in the US, where a string of recent police killings and subsequent revenge killings have sparked protests across the nation.
Father-of-three James said he feared for the safety of his own children when he watched reports of shootings.
“My son had just started the sixth grade,” he added.
“You see these videos that continue to come out, it’s a scary situation. If my son calls me and said if he got pulled over I’m not that confident that things are gonna go well and my son is going to return home.”
Despite its rule on standing for the national anthem, the NBA has written to players saying it wants to work with them on how to address the issue ahead of the start of the season on 25 October.
A number of other NFL players have joined Kaepernick in protesting when the Star Spangled Banner has been played, including his team-mate Eric Reid.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticised Kaepernick, saying: “I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him.”