Donald Trump insulted LeBron James’ intelligence on Twitter Friday night in response to the new Los Angeles Laker’s interview with CNN about his new public school for at-risk youths in Akron, Ohio.
On Twitter, Trump said, “Lebron [sic] James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron [sic] look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike [Michael 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 following day Melania Trump issued a statement through her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, to CNN in support of James.
“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has,” the statement reads, “the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”
The statement continued that, “she would be open to visiting the I Promise school in Akron.”
In a late July interview, CNN’s Don Lemon sat down with James to discuss the opening of his I Promise school in Akron which hosts 240 at-risk students through the NBA star’s LeBron James Family Foundation.
The school focuses on bringing kids up to speed who might be lagging, and will provide services to families that include job placement assistance and an on-site food bank. All students were even given a bicycle.
James spoke on several topics, including President Trump, who he’s criticized numerous times in the past.
“He’s dividing us,” James said on CNN. “I noticed over the last few months that he’s used sport to divide us and that’s something that I can’t relate to because I know that sport was the first time I was ever 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. And I was like ‘oh wow, this is all because of sports.’ Sports has never been something that’s divided people, it’s always something that brings people together.”
Was there one line that stuck out from the interview?
Yep. Lemon’s closing question asked James what he’d say if Trump was sitting across from him.
“I would never sit across from him. I’d sit across from Barack [Obama] though.”
What else did James say?
James was asked about Trump calling out men of color with means including Colin Kaepernick, Stephen Curry and Marshawn Lynch.
“For him to use sports to divide us is something I can’t sit back and not say nothin’,” James said.
“We all know Steph Curry. Model citizen, great kid, comes from a great background, great family, great father and so many kids, white, black, hispanic, love what he’s doing and rightfully so. There’s no reason for anyone to ever attack him and I felt that.”
James was also asked if he thinks Trump uses black athletes as scapegoats.
“At times,” James said. “More often than not. I believe he uses anything that’s popular to try and negate people from thinking about the positive things that they can actually be doing. And try to get our minds to not be as sharp as possible.
“From kneeling to Kaepernick who was protesting something that he believes in, and he did it in the most calm fashion... he did all his due diligence, he was knowledgeable about it and everyone knew why he did it... you look at all these instances where he’s trying to divide our sport, but at the end of the day sport is the reason why we come together.”
James was asked if he thinks being black in America is harder now, or if it’s always been this way and we’re seeing it more because of cell phones.
“I think it’s always been there,” James said. “But I think the president in charge now has given people... they don’t care now. They throw it in your face now.
You can watch the full interview here:
NBA players had some of the strongest responses to Trump’s tweet
I've been silent about ALL of the DUMB stuff this man has tweeted but THIS is attacking the NBA brotherhood and I'm not rollin'! What an embarrassment... https://t.co/zHjgokig8R— Anthony Tolliver (@ATolliver44) August 4, 2018
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns:
So let me get this straight: Flint, MI has dirty water still, but you worried about an interview about a man doing good for education and generations of kids in his hometown? Shut your damn mouth! Stop using them twitter fingers and get stuff done for our country with that pen. https://t.co/sEkX3OKaJM— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) August 4, 2018
Free agent guard Nick Young:
LeBron is going to be President one day— Nick Young (@NickSwagyPYoung) August 4, 2018
Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell:
A sign of an insecure human being is one who attacks others to make themselves feel better... im just sad that young kids have to see stupid tweets like these and grow up thinking it’s okay... forget everything else Donald your setting a bad example for kids our future https://t.co/eg0MECg8xC— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) August 4, 2018
The NBA community continues to rally around James and his efforts to better the nation. No matter how often Trump calls him out on Twitter.
Commissioner Adam Silver responded with support for James
Statement to USA TODAY Sports from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is in Johannesburg, South Africa for the third NBA Africa Game (in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation), in response to President Trump’s tweet about LeBron James and CNN’s Don Lemon pic.twitter.com/5Q01VX0bt6— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) August 4, 2018
Michael Jordan said he stands with LeBron, too
He released a statement through his spokesperson on Saturday afternoon.
“I support LJ,” Jordan said according to NBC News’ Geoff Bennett. “He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
You can read more about LeBron’s I Promise school here: