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President Trump unfavorably compared LeBron James to another basketball legend, Michael Jordan, as he insulted the newest Laker on Twitter. But Jordan — like scores of other celebrities, politicians and athletes — made it clear on Saturday that his support is with Team James.
“I support LJ,” Jordan said in a statement to NBC News, referring to James. “He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
NEW: Jordan sides with James over Trump tweet. NBA legend Michael Jordan tells NBC News through a spokesperson: “I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 4, 2018
That put Trump in an awkward position. Jordan rarely speaks out on politics, but he did make the effort to take the side of James, the player Trump was trying to insult Friday after the NBA star’s interview on CNN. Trump was presumably reacting to James’ comment during the interview that he “would never sit across from” the POTUS to Lemon earlier in the week.
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump tweeted Friday after the NBA star’s interview on CNN. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
James’ first and only tweet after the president dissed him came on Saturday morning, when he celebrated the opening of the “I Promise” school, a project of the LeBron James Family Foundation, that provides 240 at-risk third- and fourth-graders in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, with free meals and a new bicycle.
Jordan wasn’t the only person to back James, though. Hillary Clinton tweeted James was a “great family man” and a “class act.” James had stumped for Clinton on the campaign trail in 2016.
.@KingJames is a great family man, incredible ballplayer, gives back to his community, and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He’s a world class athlete and a class act. We need more like him in this world.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 4, 2018
The Lakers came to the defense of their new superstar on Saturday as well.
“We could not be more proud to have LeBron James as part of our Lakers family,” said Lakers CEO and co-owner Jeanie Buss in a statement. “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.”
Even Melania Trump seemed to side with James, saying she was “open” to visiting his new school.
President Trump is coincidentally enough hosting a rally in James’ home state on Saturday night.