Typically, basketball legend Michael Jordan is someone who plays his political cards close to his chest. But in a new statement, “His Airness” expressed solidarity with LeBron James in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s comments about his perceived lack of intellect.
ESPN recalled the events that led to Jordan’s comments about the Los Angeles Lakers star forward, noting how Trump reacted on Friday to James’ interview with CNN’s Don Lemon. In that interview, LeBron accused the president of “using sports to kinda divide us,” as opposed to how sports should bring people together despite their differences. In response to this, Trump posted the following tweet that attacked both the interviewer and the interviewee alike.
“Lebron [sic] 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!”
The “I like Mike” comment was a reference to how Trump still looks up to Michael Jordan and possibly sees him, and not LeBron James, as the greatest NBA player of all-time. This prompted a response from Jordan, who issued a brief statement through a spokesperson that affirmed his support for the 33-year-old, four-time NBA MVP.
“I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
According to the Sporting News, the controversy came just days after the LeBron James Family Foundation opened the I Promise School in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio. The school’s eponymous promise is for each of its graduates to get a guaranteed four-year scholarship to the University of Akron. The Inquisitr reported earlier on Saturday that many of LeBron’s fans and supporters responded to Trump’s attack on his intelligence by encouraging people to donate to the new school.
Michael Jordan's statement on Donald Trump's tweet about LeBron James. pic.twitter.com/9kplP3vxwW
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) August 4, 2018
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
As noted by ESPN, Michael Jordan isn’t the only current or former NBA player to defend LeBron James on social media.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns told Donald Trump to “shut [his] damn mouth” and start “[getting] stuff done” for the United States instead of going on Twitter rants. He also suggested that Trump is more worried about James’ interview with Don Lemon than other pressing issues, such as the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Likewise, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell called Trump an “insecure human being” and accused him of “setting a bad example” for children through his Twitter posts.
Other players followed Michael Jordan’s lead and kept their tweets in defense of LeBron James as succinct as possible. Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry tweeted that James should “keep doing you,” while Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal simply retweeted Donald Trump’s original post about Lemon making James “look smart,” adding the words “tired of you” in reference to the president.