President Trump unfavorably compared LeBron James to another basketball legend, Michael Jordan, as he insulted the newest L.A. Laker on Twitter. But Jordan — like scores of other celebrities, politicians and athletes — made it clear on Saturday that his support is with Team James.
“I support LJ,” Jordan said in a statement to NBC News, referring to James. “He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
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
That put Trump in an awkward position. Jordan rarely speaks out on politics, but he did make the effort to take the side of James, the player Trump was trying to insult after he told CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview earlier in the week that he “would never sit across from” the president.
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump tweeted. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
James’ first and only tweet after the president dissed him came on Saturday morning, when he celebrated the opening of the “I Promise” school, a project of the LeBron James Family Foundation that provides 240 at-risk third- and fourth-graders in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, with free meals and a new bicycle.
Jordan wasn’t alone in his praise of James. Hillary Clinton, who endorsed her during the 2016 presidential race, tweeted that James was 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
The Lakers came to the defense of their new superstar on Saturday, as well.
“We could not be more proud to have LeBron James as part of our Lakers family,” said Lakers CEO and co-owner Jeanie Buss in a statement. “He is an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent leader and clearly appreciates the power that sports has to unite communities and inspire the world to be a better place. Those efforts should be celebrated by all.”
President Trump is, coincidentally, hosting a rally in James’ home state on Saturday night.