“Viewership for NBA Finals Finale Crash Nearly 70%, Beaten by Random Sunday Night Football Game” Trump tweeted on October 12.
Trump included a Breitbart News link in his tweet, stating: “Maybe they were watching in China, but I doubt it. Zero interest!”
Just last week, Trump also blasted Lakers All-Star LeBron James on The Rush Limbaugh Show prior to Game 5.
“He’s a great basketball player,” Trump said to Limbaugh in a two-hour “radio rally” on October 9, “but people don’t want to see a guy that’s that way. They don’t want to see that. We have enough difficulty during the week, you don’t want to sit down and watch a basketball game and then watch somebody that hates your guts, OK? And he’s a hater.”
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Trump Criticized the NBA’s Anthem Protests in August
During the summer, Trump told Fox News multiple times that he was disinterested in watching NBA basketball because of players kneeling during the national anthem.
“I think it’s disgraceful,” Trump said on Fox and Friends on August 5. “We work with them, we worked with them very hard trying to get open. I was pushing them to get open, and then I see everybody kneeling during the anthem. It’s not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling during the game, I just turn off the game, I have no interest in the game. And let me tell you this, plenty of other people out there, too.”
When asked about the president’s comments during a postgame interview later that night, James issued a firm response.
“I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game,” James replied in August, ESPN reported. “And that’s all I got to say. I’m not going to get into it, ’cause I already know where this could go, where it could lead to tomorrow for me.”
“I think our game is in a beautiful position and we have fans all over the world and our fans not only love the way we play the game, we try to give it back to them with our commitment to the game,” James continued. “But also respect what else we try to bring to the game and acknowledging what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Trump’s Media Beef With James Spans Years
Trump and James have a tumultuous history dating back to 2018.
While promoting his I Promise School for at-risk youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, James told CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview that aired on July 31, 2018, that he felt the president was “using sports to divide us.”
Trump later responded on Twitter saying, “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!”
Lakers Ride Their Stars to an NBA Title
Meanwhile, the Lakers are the NBA’s 2020 champions after defeating the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6, and 4-2 overall in the series. Guided by head coach Frank Vogel and assistant coaches Jason Kidd, Phil Handy, Lionel Hollins, Miles Simon, Mike Penberthy, Quinton Crawford and Greg St. Jean, the Lakers finished the regular season with a 52-19 record and a first-place finish.
James, 35, was named the 2020 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, the fourth of his career. In the regular season, the 16-time All-Star selection averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 10.2 assists and 1.2 steals per contest. James is now a four-time NBA Champion, twice with the Miami Heat and once each with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers.
His on-court partner, Anthony Davis, was potent for the Lakers as well. A seven-time NBA All-Star and No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Davis averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks in the regular season.