NBA superstar LeBron James may blame President Donald Trump if he decides to bolt the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time.
That is the contention of Fox Sports 1 host Jason Whitlock. The journalist and his Speak for Yourself panelists discussed this possibility after it was raised by several sportswriters, particularly given Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s ties to Trump. There are conflicting reports/rumors as to whether James has already decided to jump to the Los Angeles Lakers or Clippers when he again becomes a free agent after the 2017-2018 season.
The original nationally televised “Decision” on July 8, 2010, in which LeBron James announced that he would join the Miami Heat prompted outrage among basketball fans in Cleveland and the Ohio region generally. James grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio.
There supposedly is a major rift between James and Gilbert (an ongoing theme), which was exacerbated when Gilbert did not extend the contract of GM David Griffin, a James favorite.
Gilbert made zero contributions to the Trump presidential campaign in 2016, but did pony up $750,000 for the Trump inauguration, Cleveland’s WKYC noted. That donation might be a source friction between James and Gilbert.
Gilbert happened to be visiting the White House when the Chicago Cubs met with President Trump in June.
Parenthetically, the Cavs may also lose Kyrie Irving, who has asked for a trade to a team which will focus the offense around him.
LeBron James was a big Hillary Clinton supporter and campaigned with her in Ohio. Trump wound up carrying Ohio, however. In the aftermath of the Charlottesville incident, James has criticized Trump on Twitter and in some public appearances.
According to Whitock, LeBron is ultimately turning his back on the Cavs for “basketball-winning reasons,” but may give Trump as an excuse to “soften the blow” to jilted Cleveland fans. Making reference to the Netflix original series, Whitlock quipped that “It’s like House of Cards; everything has become political.”
The “left-wing media” will help LeBron sell the anti-Trump narrative “to the hilt,” Whitlock added, if it comes to that.