For all the good LeBron James did this week with the opening of the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, for at-risk students, he’s simultaneously embroiled in a bit of controversy.
During an interview with Don Lemon of CNN, James expressed his belief that United States President Donald Trump was attempting to use sports to divide citizens. The idea struck particularly hurtful for James, who explained sports was a means for him to learn about others.
That criticism drew the ire of the President, who was critical of James and Lemon in a tweet sent out late Friday evening. Trump’s remarks included his belief that Michael Jordan was the superior player.
Many have since come to the defense of James, and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss joined that throng of vocal supporters. “We could not be more proud to have LeBron James as part of our Lakers family,” Buss said in a released statement on behalf of the team.
“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.”
Prior to Buss, Jordan also voiced his support of James. Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns are among the professional athletes that have addressed the matter on social media.
James himself has not responded to Trump. Their history includes trading barbs when Trump revoked an invitation to the White House for the Warriors.