Following a tweet from sham university scam artist and President of the United States Donald Trump that seemed to imply he thought non-fraudelent school founder and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was dumb, the NBA community has come together in support of James, with Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and NBA commissioner Adam Silver all releasing statements rebutting Trump’s tweet without explicitly mentioning it.
Late Friday night, Trump tweeted that James “was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon” in reference to a CNN interview in which James accused Trump of trying to “divide” the country.
Trump added that Lemon — who he has also taken issue with in the past — “made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do” and finished off the missive with a simple “I like Mike!”, presumably referring to Jordan, a burn that surely hurt LeBron and definitely doesn’t come off like the sad musings of a hateful old man.
It seems “Mike” didn’t like that, because he released a statement praising LeBron early Saturday morning:
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
So expect Trump to tweet that he actually meant Mike Dunleavy, or something, within the next few days.
Silver sent an even stronger rebuke, interestingly also without mentioning Trump by name:
Statement to USA TODAY Sports from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is in Johannesburg, South Africa for the third NBA Africa Game (in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation), in response to President Trump’s tweet about LeBron James and CNN’s Don Lemon pic.twitter.com/5Q01VX0bt6— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) August 4, 2018
Buss continued that trend while also issuing strong words of support for her team’s newest star.
“We could not be more proud to have LeBron James as part of our Lakers family. 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,” Buss wrote in a statement.
There are a few levels to this, and it is interesting that none of the trio chose to mention Trump by name, which for a person of his ego likely makes him even angrier to not get the buzz that comes with more press clippings.
And again, Trump going after a strong, independent, African-American man who is doing actual charity instead of the fraudulent variety Trump traffics in — especially now that James no longer plays in a swing state — is a hardly surprising attempt to further dog whistle to the undercurrents of prejudicial anger of the supporters he rode to the White House.
It’s immature, childish and unbecoming of the office, which also isn’t surprising at this point. It’s sad that they aren’t in positions of power, but in James playing silent while his supporters rally around him without pouring further kerosene on this fire, at least it’s refreshing to see that there are still a few adults in the room.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.