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Michael Jordan divides opinion with LeBron James statement and reference to his community

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Michael Jordan divides opinion with LeBron James statement and reference to his community

NBA legend Michael Jordan has divided opinion over his response to Donald Trump’s row with LeBron James, which saw the US president declare he “preferred Mike”. The retired Chicago Bulls star was dragged into the argument after being name-dropped by Mr Trump on Twitter, apparently referencing the popular debate over whether Jordan or James is the greatest basketball player of all time. The president hit out after James told CNN anchor Don Lemon in a televised interview last week that the president had “kinda used sport to divide us”. In response, Mr Trump branded Mr Lemon the “dumbest man on television” adding: “He made LeBron look smart, which isn't easy to do. I like Mike!” In a response issued through his spokesman, Jordan offered his backing to LA Lakers small forward James, who this week opened a school for at-risk children in his native Ohio. “I support LeBron James,” he said. “He's doing an amazing job for his community.” The statement has drawn criticism in some quarters due the language used and the fact it neglected to mention or address the president directly. “This is SUCH a Michael Jordan quote,” Temple University professor and CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill wrote on Twitter. “And exactly why many of us will never respect him off the court.” “It is the quintessential MJ quote,” added civil rights activist Shaun King. “‘His’ community and not ‘our’ community. No rebuke of the attack.” However, some have defended Jordan, who currently owns NBA franchise, the Charlotte Hornets. “I’m confused. Was Jordan supposed to use this moment to fillet Trump?” PhD student Kelvin Parnell Jr wrote on Twitter in response to Mr Hill’s criticism. “Was he supposed to get into an all out media debacle with Trump. Why should he give him the time of day? “He gave respect to LeBron and that’s the end of it. Is anyone asking LJ to issue as strong rebuttal?” Jordan, 55, has developed a reputation over the years for refusing to air his political views in public. The spokesman for the Nike sportswear brand has been attributed in the past with the quote: “Republicans buy sneakers too” in relation to his unwillingness to comment on social issues for fear it might alienate some from his products. However, it has never been determined whether he actually used the phrase and Jordan had denied it originated from him. In 1990, at the height of his sporting powers, the six-time NBA champion received criticism for refusing to endorse black Democratic candidate Harvey Gantt during his Senate race in Jordan’s home state of North Carolina. Mr Gantt eventually lost a narrow contest to Republican rival Jesse Helms, who was described by The Washington Post the week after he announced his retirement in 2001 as the “last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country.” Jordan did however speak out in 2016 against the killings of black Americans by law enforcement officials. He said in a statement that he had been “deeply troubled” by the spate of deaths at the hands of police: “as a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man.” “I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late,” he added. “I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent.


Location: New Jersey


Channel: 258

Added On: August 6, 2018, 3:38 pm EDT

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Michael Jordan divides opinion

August 6, 2018, 3:38 pm EDT

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