BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — Michael Jordan is speaking out in support of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James after President Donald Trump insulted his intelligence.
Mr. Trump tweeted late Friday after apparently watching an interview James did with CNN anchor Don Lemon that Lemon was “the dumbest man on television” but that he “made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”
James was being interviewed about a school he recently opened in Ohio for underprivileged children.
Mr. Trump also appeared to weigh in on the growing debate over who is the greatest NBA player of all time, James or Jordan, by writing “I like Mike!”
Jordan issued a statement through his spokesperson to The Associated Press via text. It said: “I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
Mr. Trump is traveling to Ohio on Saturday for a campaign rally.
James has long been critical of Trump. In his interview with Lemon, he said he’d consider running for president if he believed he was the only person who could stop Trump from being re-elected.
“What I’ve noticed over the past few months (is) he’s (Trump) kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to,” James told Lemon.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for First Lady Melania Trump Saturday said it appears James is “working to do good things” and that she would be willing to visit the new school he opened in Ohio.
The statement from Stephanie Grisham said, “It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation.”
The statement noted that Mrs. Trump has been promoting her Be Best campaign and talking to children about the “importance of responsible online behavior.” Grisham adds that the first lady “would be open” to visiting James’ school.
The statement didn’t criticize the president.
A number of athletes jumped in to defend James.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe tweeted Saturday: “It should be beneath the dignity of a sitting POTUS to take racist shots at D. Lemon and Lebron James.”
NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns tweeted: “So let me get this straight: Flint, MI has dirty water still, but you worried about an interview about a man doing good for education and generations of kids in his hometown?”
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