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CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 21: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts in the second quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Three of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Donald Trump Insults LeBron James’ Intelligence On Twitter, Michael Jordan & NBA Commissioner Respond

President Donald Trump called both LeBron James and CNN anchor Don Lemon dumb in a tweet on Friday night, and several prominent NBA figures have since responded.

Trump Insults LeBron James in Tweet

“LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do,” Trump wrote. “I like Mike!” the president added, referring to legend Michael Jordan. 

Trump was voicing his displeasure with an interview 33-year-old James gave Lemon on CNN last week, in which the newly-minted Los Angeles Lakers star criticized the president for using sports to “divide” the country. James — who recently opened up a public elementary school for at-risk children in his native Akron, Ohio called “I Promise” — discussed Trump’s frequent attacks of athletes like Colin Kaepernick who protested the national anthem to make statements about issues such as racial inequality and police brutality.

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James, a three-time NBA champion and four-time NBA MVP, is considered by many fans to be the greatest professional basketball player of all time, although several others say Jordan undoubtedly deserves this title. Given that the pair are often compared, it isn’t surprising that Trump mentioned the latter on Twitter.

Jordan, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss were all among the league members who rushed to defend James following Trump’s verbal attack. The three figures praised The King for his history of dedication to community service, although none of them mentioned Trump’s name or even explicitly criticized him.

“I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” Jordan told CNN via a spokesperson.

“LeBron James is one of the all-time greatest NBA players and one of the most accomplished athletes,” Silver wrote in a statement to USA Today Sports. “I greatly admire his intelligence and business acumen and have enormous respect and appreciation for what he does in his community.”

Buss released the following statement on behalf of the Lakers: “We could not be more proud to have LeBron James as part of our Lakers family,” the statement read. “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.”

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It seems like Buss and Silver are making a greater effort than their NFL counterparts to support players who attempt to make strong sociopolitical statements.

Lemon also fired back at Trump by tweeting: “Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages? #BeBest,” referencing both the immigrant family separations controversy and First Lady Melania Trump‘s campaign against online bullying.

Trump frequently criticizes CNN, perhaps the most out of all the major networks. The president has repeatedly called them “fake news.” 

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Written by Pablo Mena