“Athlete activism can affect positive change and should be celebrated, not derided,” King said in her tweet. “Thank you, @KingJames. May your actions inspire other athletes to do the same.”
James’ foundation has partnered with the Akron Public Schools system to open the “I Promise” School, an elementary school that will support at-risk youth.
During James’ interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, James criticized the president.
“What I’ve noticed over the past few months,” James said in reference to the president, “[is] he’s kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something I can’t relate to.”
Trump responded with a tweet Friday evening.
“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!” he tweeted.
The “I like Mike!” comment may be a reference to the debate about who is the greatest NBA player of all time, James or Michael Jordan.
King isn’t the only athlete who has shown support for James. Jordan issued a statement through a spokeswoman.
“I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” said Jordan, according to CNN.
King is well known for her activism, particularly in the area of women’s equality in sports.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 5, 2018
Her most famous match may be her victory over Bobby Riggs, according to ESPN. Referred to as the “Battle of the Sexes,” she defeated Riggs in a match in September 1973. She was named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life magazine in 1990.
Activism is important to James as well. According to their website, The LeBron James Family Foundation’s “mission is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives.”
James’ tweeted on July 29 that opening the “I Promise” School was “one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life.”
The jitters before the first day of school are real right now!!! Tomorrow is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life when we open the #IPROMISE School. This skinny kid from Akron who missed 83 days of school in the 4th grade had big dreams… https://t.co/PwmRaHRfng
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 29, 2018
Other athletes besides Jordan, along with celebrities and journalists, have come to James’ defense. First Lady Melania Trump also issued a statement supporting 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 First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today,” said her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham in a statement to CNN.