The LeBron James-Michael Jordan debate has officially reached the Oval Office, though President Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be making his choice based on basketball reasons.
Trump entered one of basketball’s most heated debates with a single tweet Friday evening, saying that James had been interviewed by CNN anchor Don Lemon, who Trump called “the dumbest man on television.” Lemon’s chief offense was apparently making James look smart, which Trump said “wasn’t easy to do.” After throwing insults at both men, Trump also mentioned that he likes “Mike,” which is almost certainly a reference to Jordan.
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
The interview Trump was referring to occurred Tuesday night, when the Los Angeles Lakers superstar joined Lemon on CNN Tonight in a taped interview to discuss the opening of the I PROMISE school for at-risk 3rd and 4th-graders in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. James has been the school’s largest donor and active in its development.
From free uniforms and transportation to college tuition guaranteed for all graduates. LeBron James takes CNN's Don Lemon on an exclusive tour of his new 'I Promise' school https://t.co/roRxI7qlZl pic.twitter.com/Q1nc62asZe
— CNN (@CNN) July 31, 2018
This isn’t the first time Trump has expressed an opinion about James on Twitter, but, funnily enough, it’s the first time he’s been anything but laudatory to the NBA’s biggest star while on Twitter.
President Donald Trump’s past praise of LeBron James
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2012
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2013
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2013
Great shot by @KingJames yesterday. Lebron is a tough competitor who delivers under pressure.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2015
Trump hadn’t tweeted at James since he took office, so Friday’s tweet was a predictable sea change on social media. Trump had also previously made the move of preemptively not inviting James’ Cavaliers and their Warriors opponents last season, when both James and Warriors star Steph Curry said neither team had an interest in visiting the White House as NBA Champions.
LeBron James’ past criticism of President Donald Trump
The reason why Trump has changed his mind on all issues LeBron likely comes down to James being politically outspoken against him while also being one of the faces of the NBA. During his interview with Lemon, James criticized Trump for sowing discord in America through sports with issues like kneeling during the national anthem.
“We’re in a position right now in America where this whole race thing is taking over. One, because I believe our president is trying to divide us.
He’s dividing us, and what I’ve noticed over the last few months is that he’s kind of used sport to kind of divide us. That’s something that I can’t relate to, because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white. I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got an opportunity to learn about me, and we became very good friends. I was like this is all because of sports. And sports has never been something that divided people. It’s always been something that brings someone together.”
To be fair, James has also not been so kind to Trump on Twitter in the past, though he probably won’t be changing his mind in the near future.
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
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