Trump’s Newest Enemies: Lebron James, Michael Jordan…with a Sidebar from Melania Trump

President Donald Trump has found himself embroiled in yet another public feud, this time with Lebron James and “his airness” Michael Jordan. Trump and Lebron have always had a turbulent public relationship, but the spat over the weekend elevated it to a whole new level.

The most recent round of the feud started when Lebron James told TV personality Don Lemon that he couldn’t “sit back and say nothing,” referencing some of his recent criticisms of President Trump. Lebron, elaborated: “What I’ve noticed over the past few months. He’s kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to.”

Trump didn’t take the comments well, taking to Twitter to argue:

Trump also said he liked Mike, referencing the GOAT rivalry between Lebron and “His Airness.” Michael Jordan didn’t criticize Trump, but did support Lebron, stating through a spokesperson that “I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”

Don Lemon, meanwhile, fired back:

The #BeBest hashtag refers to an effort by Melania Trump to promote respect and kindness. Melania Trump also weighed in over the weekend to voice support for Lebron and his charitable deeds. (Note: I am sure Melania is on good terms with her husband, but her support of Lebron is among the biggest public contradictions with her husband that I can recall.)

The First Lady’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham told CNN: “It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

Trump has been more vocal about professional sports than any President in modern history. He has frequently lambasted NFL players for kneeling on the turf, for example. Many of these kneeling players claim that they are raising awareness over important issues, such as racism and police brutality.

President Donald Trump and many of his supporters see it differently. According to Trump’s narrative, the kneeling players disrespect the United States, its armed services, and are acting un-patriotically. While the kneeling has largely been limited to NFL players, many other professional athletes have weighed in on the topic, generally to support their fellow athletes.

Lebron James has been chief among the pro-kneeling supporters, but his tone has largely been conciliatory rather than anti-Trump. Speaking to Lemon, Lebron seemed to argue that sports can bridge the divide between different communities. Lebron noted that his first interactions with white people were through playing sports.

Lebron recently teamed up with his hometown Akron public school system to launch an elementary school. The “I Promise School” will be supported by extra resources through the Lebron James Family Foundation and will aim to support at-risk youth. Taxpayers will still be paying for about 75 percent of the school’s costs once it’s up and running, but the extra resources provided by Lebron may push the school over the top.

As for me? I believe the President has bigger things to worry about than spats with professional athletes. NFL players taking a knee has never really bothered me, although at times I have wondered if some were grandstanding. Regardless, they are highlighting important issues, and they should have the right to express their discontent. Meanwhile, I laud Lebron for his efforts to support public schools and help at-risk youth.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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