People are choosing teams in the battle between President Trump and LeBron James — and it looks like the deck is stacked in favor of the basketball superstar, at least on Twitter.
After Trump tweeted on Friday that CNN’s Don Lemon — whom he called “the dumbest man on television” — “made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do,” a groundswell of support quickly backed the newest Laker.
It came from all over, including Hollywood, where comedian Patton Oswalt said the president was going for the “most ratio’ed” tweet in history.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) August 4, 2018
No matter how bad your life gets, no matter how lonely or isolated you feel, you’ll never be the president of the United States angrily tweeting about a LeBron James interview on a Friday night https://t.co/Ly22NEJtDe
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) August 4, 2018
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” executive producer Ed Glavin tweeted sharply, “Lebron James represents the best of America. Donald Trump represents the worst of it.”
Lebron James represents the best of America. Donald Trump represents the worst of it. https://t.co/35hx6IXHEr
— Ed Glavin (@EdGlavin) August 4, 2018
High-profile media people also sent James votes of confidence. HBO’s Bill Simmons called James a “smart dude” and blasted the “bulls–t tweet” from Trump that felt “more than a little racist.”
LeBron is a smart dude (and one of the most thoughtful athletes we have) – this is a bullshit tweet and feels more than a little racist. You’re a constant embarrassment. https://t.co/QxYpuyHsuW
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) August 4, 2018
Dan Rather echoed a similar thought, saying the president’s actions were “a disgrace.”
This is apparently what the President of the United States feels the need to share with the world at what should be long past his bedtime? It's a disgrace. It's racist. And it's the product of petty but dangerous hatreds. I repeat this is the PRESIDENT??!? https://t.co/MA8nZUxFc7
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 4, 2018
I'd much rather live in a world reflecting the values, philanthropy, and yes intelligence of LeBron James and Don Lemon's intelligent commitment to truth and journalism than the divisive peevishness, lies, and narrow self-interest displayed by the President of the United States.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) August 4, 2018
You know my admiration for @KingJames. I like him more today than ever.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) August 4, 2018
“You aren’t fit to lace LeBron’s sneakers, and everybody knows it,” tweeted writer Molly Knight.
You aren’t fit to lace LeBron’s sneakers, and everybody knows it. https://t.co/oRqYHnVE2R
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) August 4, 2018
Trump said he liked “Mike,” as in Michael Jordan, in his dig against James. But Jordan sided with James on Saturday, saying he’s “doing an amazing job for his community,” according to NBC News.
NEW: Jordan sides with James over Trump tweet. NBA legend Michael Jordan tells NBC News through a spokesperson: "I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 4, 2018
Hillary Clinton — whom James stumped for in 2016 — came to the hooper’s defense as well, calling him a “great family man” and a “class act.”
.@KingJames is a great family man, incredible ballplayer, gives back to his community, and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He’s a world class athlete and a class act. We need more like him in this world.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 4, 2018
Former chess champ Garry Kasparov said he heard similar disdain for athletes speaking out while growing up in the Soviet Union.
I also heard “stick to sports” in Russia for opposing Putin and I’d be proud to be as “dumb” as LeBron James, who has used his fame and wealth to better his nation, unlike Trump. https://t.co/S5DdWjvuWT
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) August 4, 2018
Many conservatives backed James, too, with Republican governor John Kasich saying, “we should be celebrating him for his charity work and efforts to help kids.”
Rather than criticizing @KingJames, we should be celebrating him for his charity work and efforts to help kids.
By the way, all-around he’s better than Michael Jordan. That’s a fact.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) August 4, 2018
This tweet from a couple of years ago is evidence, I suppose, that Trump's accusing people of being dumb may not be racist. On the other hand, to make an obvious point: LeBron James seems quite intelligent. I'm sure he wears Donald Trump's scorn as a badge of honor. https://t.co/pQX9R8BxJk
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 4, 2018
The price tag: $41.8 millionhttps://t.co/Ld5buLmZjp
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) August 4, 2018
If there’s support for the president insinuating James is dumb, we haven’t seen it. Because even President Trump at one time was a fan of James, calling him a “great guy” in 2013.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2013