Trump derided the intelligence of the NBA (National Basketball Association) Legend LeBron James and prominent African-American, CNN anchor Don Lemon in a late night tweet on 3rd August 2018.
It all started on a quiet Friday when CNN re-aired Don Lemon’s interview with LeBron James. The interview focused on James contributions to his hometown of Akron Ohia, including a public school for third and fourth graders there. Mr James announced his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time and play for the Lakers in Los Angeles. The school which is a joint effort of the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public schools will benefit at-risk children. But the two men also discussed politics. Mr James spoke of sports as something that unites people and added that the president was ‘using sports to kinda divide us’. Mr Trump has repeatedly and strongly criticised the NFL (National Football League) in particular for not punishing players who kneel during the national anthem in a form of protest. “Sports have never been something that divides people’’, Mr James said during the interview. “It’s always been something that brings someone together”. “ I can’t sit back and say nothing”, James said.
Trump criticized James for this interview. In the tweet, he called Lemon ‘the dumbest man on television’, and then said, “ Mr Lemon made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do”. The president then unexpectedly, started the debate over ‘Who is the greatest NBA player all time, James or Michael Jordan’ by writing “I like Mike’’.
Unsurprisingly, people in sports were appalled by the president’s comments about James. Many former and current professional athletes rendered a helping hand to James. Michael Jordan released a statement supporting LeBron, “I support LeBron James. He is doing an amazing job for his community”. Mr Lemon tweeted, “Who is the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts in cages? ”
Later, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump said that “James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation” and added she would visit his new school.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly been questioned about his views on race. Mr Trump’s attack on NBA star LeBron James is a part of a larger pattern of racist behaviour. Before entering politics, Trump frequently praised James and his own family tried to recruit him to the New York Knicks in 2010. But commenting on someone’s intelligence, including his own, has long been a Trump trope. He has been criticised for complimenting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as smart cookie and Russian President Vladimir Putin as very smart and has been known to praise himself as a ‘very stable genius’.
Mr James has previously criticised Mr Trump on several occasions supporting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election and calling Mr Trump a ‘bum’ in September 2017 after the president rescinded the invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit White House. “Going to the White House was a great honour until you showed up’, Mr James tweeted at that time. LeBron James is a successful Black person who actually made his wealth instead of inheriting it. He is more popular with the public and is genuinely more concerned with using his money and fame to improve others lives. This very fact has raised a question in the minds of the people ‘How on earth is a self-made millionaire who just gave away a school being criticised by the president?’
Trump has built an empire using a million dollar loan from his father whereas James has built an empire from nothing. Picking fights with liberals, regardless of how awful the tactic used, works for Trump. And in particular, complaining about black sportsman’s works has worked extremely well for the president. The motivation for his attack came from the fact that LeBron made a negative comment about him. Trump feels that he cannot let a negative comment go unpunished.
Just take a look at Trump’s history of ridiculing the intelligence of prominent black Americans. Trump’s pattern of attacking well known African-Americans as having low IQs or intelligence is parroting the white nationalist view that blacks are inherently less intelligent than whites. The only question is whether Trump is intentionally supporting the views of white supremacists.
Trump should erase his racist views and stop attacking celebrities to earn a better image.