‘Working to do good things’: Melania Trump offers support to LeBron James after jibe from husband
A spokeswoman for the US first lady said that “it looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation.”
The NBA star recently opened an ‘I Promise’ school for underprivileged children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio – which the first lady said she would be open to visiting.
The statement followed a Twitter rant on Friday from her husband in response to an interview James had given to CNN.
Speaking to presenter Don Lemon, the La Lakers star had accused the US president of using sport to try to divide the nation along racial lines.
President Trump responded by branding Lemon “the dumbest man on television” and said that “he made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
After the statement, current and former stars from the world of sport spoke out in defense of James.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who has also clashed with Trump after snubbing an invitation to the White House as an NBA champion, tweeted his support.
NBA great Michael Jordan – whom Trump said he preferred in signing off his tweet aimed at James – issued a statement through AP in which he praised the four-time NBA MVP.
“I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” the Chicago Bulls legend said.
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz said Trump’s tweet was “a sign of an insecure human being” and condemned the US leader for “setting a bad example for our kids.”
A sign of an insecure human being is one who attacks others to make themselves feel better... im just sad that young kids have to see stupid tweets like these and grow up thinking it’s okay... forget everything else Donald your setting a bad example for kids😑 our future 🤡 https://t.co/eg0MECg8xC— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) August 4, 2018
Support for the 33-year-old James also came from the world of baseball, with Houston Astros infielder Alex Bregman praising the former Cleveland Cavaliers player as a role model, while branding Trump’s tweet “embarrassing.”
LeBron is an amazing role model and has helped so many people. Embarrassing that our Pres. would tweet this... I’ll go back to sticking to sports. Sorry everybody https://t.co/Yy8aniHHHQ— Alex Bregman (@ABREG_1) August 4, 2018
Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe accused Trump of racism, saying his tweet was "beneath the dignity of a sitting POTUS.”
It should be beneath the dignity of a sitting POTUS to take racist shots at D. Lemon and Lebron James. While only uttering kind words for ruthless dictators, Putin, Kim and Duterte. President Trump, we cape up for ours , “BELIEVE THAT” #KinOrSkinWeRide— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) August 4, 2018
Donald Trump was at a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, although he did not mention James in his speech.