It is no secret that Lakers star LeBron James and current President Donald Trump have had some tension between them. That goes back years now, to when James supported presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in her bid against Trump in the 2016 election.
It has heated up over the years and, way back on Monday (which feels like it was a month ago now), Trump was at a rally in Pennsylvania ranting against NFL players who kneel during the national anthem and NBA players who have been outspoken about police brutality and other social justice issues in recent months. Members of the Trump crowd began chanting, “LeBron James sucks!”
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On Friday, with former Vice President Joe Biden projected to win the presidency from Trump, James let karma do its work, responding with laughter to a tweet about Trump’s increasingly unpredictable and distressed demeanor.
James has not been outspoken about Trump’s potential loss even as that loss crystallized. But it was still a nice emoji-driven dunk on the guy who has used James as a straw man repeatedly during his administration.
LeBron James: ‘Won’t Go Back & Forth With That Guy’
Two weeks ago, James told the New York Times that, “I don’t go back and forth with anybody. And I damn sure won’t go back and forth with that guy.” That was in reference to Trump. He has mostly avoided getting embroiled with the name-calling style favored by Trump—at least not since 2017, when he called Trump “U bum” for disinviting the Golden State Warriors to the White House after their NBA championship.
At the rally on Monday, Trump taunted James.
“How about basketball?” Trump told supporters, taking aim at the NBA’s weak Finals television ratings. “How about LeBron? I felt badly for LeBron. I felt very badly. Down 71% and that’s for their championship — I didn’t want to watch one shot. When they don’t respect our country, when they don’t respect our flag, nobody wants to watch. Nobody!”
That was when the chant of “LeBron James sucks!” broke out among the crowd.
James did not comment on that incident.
Trump Tweeted That LeBron James Is Not Very Smart
The tensest point in the simmering Trump-James confrontation came two years ago during an interview with CNN anchor Don Lemon about the I Promise public charter school he started for at-risk kids in Akron, Ohio. At the time, Trump was exacerbating an issue in the NFL over kneeling during the national anthem, a gesture begun by Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers to protest police brutality but picked up by many other players.
Asked about Trump at the time, James said, “I believe our president is kinda trying to divide us. Is, I don’t want to say kinda. He is dividing us. What I’ve noticed over the past few months, is he’s kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to because I know that sport is the first time I was around someone white.”
James added that he became friends with that white teammate, which taught him the value of sports.
Trump tweeted about that, essentially calling James “dumb.”
It should be pointed out, though, that with Trump, there is a contradictory tweet for everything. In 2013, Trump was asked about James and had this to say:
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