“How about basketball? How about LeBron? “Trump started when the crowd started booming.
Trump said he “felt bad for LeBron” and claimed that ratings for the sixth and crucial game of the NBA final, in which James’s Lakers defeated the Miami Heat, were “down 71 percent” from 2019.
“I didn’t see a shot – I’m getting bored,” said the president. “Back and forth, back and forth. You know why? If they don’t respect our country, if they don’t respect our flag, nobody wants to watch. Nobody. And the NFL is way down. You have to stand for our flag, you have to be really great for our flag and our anthem, and if you don’t we are not watching. “
At that point, Trump turned and heard chants of “LeBron James Sucks!”
“What a lot! What a lot!” he exclaimed.
He was also part of a multimillion-dollar effort by celebrities and Mike Bloomberg to keep about 13,000 of them eligible to vote in the presidential election, according to the Tampa Bay Times / Miami Herald and ProPublica. Although the number fell below expectations, the report noted that the number of voters added could be significant in a key state.
Still, James shied away from openly approving the Biden Harris ticket, not that there was much doubt about his inclinations. In an August interview, he laughed when he said to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, “I mean what is known doesn’t even have to be said.” James made his feelings clear again in an Instagram message the night before the election. “Another day. Please 🗳 !! We need EVERYTHING to change and everything starts tomorrow,” he wrote. “#BidenHarris #MoreThanaVote”
Last month, in an interview with Rush Limbaugh, Trump called James “a Democratic Party spokesman and a very bad spokesman”.
“He’s a great basketball player, but people don’t want to see a man like that,” Trump said. “They don’t want to see that. You know we have enough trouble during the week. You don’t want to sit down and watch a basketball game and then see someone who hates your courage, okay? And he’s a hater. “
James subsequently referred to Trump when he told the New York Times that he “won’t go back and forth with this guy”. However, a few days later, during the final presidential debate on social media, he reportedly shared a split-screen picture of Trump and Joe Biden with a clown face draped over the president’s head. “Please vote !!!!” James added in a block of text with the picture.
Ratings for last month’s NBA finals were down significantly year on year, although reports varied on how much and for what reasons. After the finale closed, Trump tweeted a Breitbart story that saw a 66 percent drop from 18.34 million viewers in 2019 to a high of 6.028 million viewers this year, which the president saw as evidence of zero interest ! “
According to a report from Bloomberg, Nielsen data showed a 51 percent drop in average viewership for the finals in 2019, which were held four months later than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sports Media Watch had 8.29 million viewers for its all-important Game 6, down 56 percent from 18.76 million in 2019. A search for a report of a 71 percent decline found that number was cited by RT.com, a Russia-backed news network.
In a town hall last month on the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Trump videoed a question from former NFL star Brett Favre, who said, “The NBA and NFL are struggling with lower ratings because fans clearly don’t want political news to be mixed with their sports. How should the leagues support and promote a position against racism without becoming political and alienating fans? “
Trump at the time claimed that ratings for the NBA final “are down 70 percent, more than that,” saying, “People don’t want to see all of the politics.” You have enough politics, with me and with everyone else. And they don’t want to watch it with football or sports, on Sunday or whenever they are watching. “
“I think football should go back to football and basketball to basketball,” he added. “And let politics stay separate.”
A blunt version of that sentiment was voiced in 2018 by Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who told James and NBA colleague Kevin Durant to “shut up and dribble”. She responded to comments these two had made about Trump, including James who stated that the president “really doesn’t give an F — about the people”.
James responded to Ingrahams remarks by claiming that he “definitely won’t shut up and dribble”. Describing himself as “more than an athlete”, James said, “I mean too much for so many children who feel they have no way out and they need someone to help them get out of the situation they are located. ”
After James and almost every other NBA player and coach knelt during the anthem as the NBA resumed its season in July, he praised former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick – himself a past target of Trump’s criticism – for his inspiration .
“Kaep was someone who got up when times weren’t comfortable, when people didn’t understand, when people refused to listen to what he was saying,” James said. “If you go back and listen to his post-game interviews when he talked about why he was kneeling, it had absolutely nothing to do with the flag. It had absolutely nothing to do with the soldiers, the men and women who keep our country free.
“He explained that and our ears were closed. People never listened. They refused to listen. I did. A lot of my people in the black community listened. “