The Slatest

Trump Insults LeBron James’ Intelligence After CNN Interview: “I Like Mike!”

NBA basketball player Lebron James and Hillary Clinton arrive for a rally at the Cleveland Public Auditorium November 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
NBA basketball player Lebron James and Hillary Clinton arrive for a rally at the Cleveland Public Auditorium November 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

President Donald Trump took some time out of his Friday night to insult LeBron James. What raised the ire of the commander in chief? The basketball star gave a long interview to CNN’s Don Lemon about the elementary school for at-risk children that his foundation helped launch in his hometown. “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon,” Trump wrote. “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” The president then seemed to weigh in on the debate over who is the best player of all time, LeBron James or Michael Jordan. “I like Mike!” the president tweeted.

James has not been shy about criticizing the president in the past and continued that trend in the interview with CNN, which originally aired earlier in the week. “What I’ve noticed over the past few months,” James said, “He’s kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to.” James demurred when asked whether he would ever consider entering politics. But he changed his tune when Lemon presented him with a hypothetical that if he didn’t run Trump would win. “Well, in that case, I may,” he said. “I believe there’s someone else out there. I hope.” When asked what he would tell Trump if they were seated across from each other, James said that wouldn’t happen: “I would never sit across from him.”

James, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, famously called Trump a “bum” in a tweet last year. In a separate tweet, James said Trump had made hate “fashionable again.”

Before he became president though, Trump had nothing but nice things to say about James, at least on Twitter. In 2013, Trump called James a “great guy” after he won Athlete of the Year at the ESPYs. In 2015, Trump had called James “a tough competitor who delivers under pressure.”

Dan Rather was apparently shocked at the way the president decided to insult a basketball player who has opened a school for at-risk kids. “It’s a disgrace. It’s racist,” Rather wrote. “And it’s the product of petty but dangerous hatreds.” Some were quick to point out that it seems Trump decided he could finally hit back at James for his attacks now that the basketball star no longer lives in the swing state of Ohio.