"He made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do", the president tweeted of the Los Angeles Lakers player. And he's rejecting the premise like an opponent's ill-advised layup. A few days later, James proclaimed he wouldn't let Trump divide the nation through sports, saying "the people run this country, not one individual".
Friday night, the president tweeted his displeasure about both men.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, defended James in a tweet, praising the star's philanthropy and his I Promise school, and wading into a long-running debate as to who's better: LeBron or MJ. "And I was like, 'Oh wow, this is all because of sports'". "Going to White House was a great honour until you showed up!"
"For me, everything where I grew up was on top of the refrigerator", he explained. The school is aimed at providing comprehensive services for at-risk youth, and James is providing $8 million in funding for it through his LeBron James Family Foundation.
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The I Promise School initially will house 240 third- and fourth-graders.
James received publicity during the week for opening his new school in Akron, Ohio. "I don't want my future kids growing up in a world where two Black men, accomplished in their field, are called dumb because they disagree with your views. But I think the president in charge now has given people - they don't care now, they throw it to your face", he said.
James, who has spent most of his career playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, is a titan in his home state, and it's hard to imagine a gesture more likely to alienate voters there than insulting him.
When we're a sport website and we have to talk about Donald Trump, you know he's done something silly - once again.
"Well, in that case, I may", he said. During his interview with Lemon, James criticized Trump for sowing discord in America through sports with issues like kneeling during the national anthem.
As of Saturday morning, James remained silent on the matter.