Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is back on the court, but he’s not sweating President Trump saying he won’t be watching any NBA games now that the season has restarted.
In postgame remarks after the Lakers’ 105-85 loss to the Oklahoma Thunder, James said he won’t miss Trump watching the games and probably neither would any other basketball fan.
"I really don't think the basketball community are [sic] sad about losing his viewership," the star forward said.
As the season restarted in Orlando, players have been taking a knee during the national anthem in a symbolic gesture of protest against racial injustice and police brutality in solidarity with nationwide demonstrations.
Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday (Aug 5) that he found it “disgraceful” that athletes are making the gesture and that it now makes him uninterested in watching NBA games.
“I think it’s disgraceful. We work with [the NBA]. We work very hard trying to get them open. I was pushing them to get open. And then I see everyone kneeling during the anthem. It’s not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game,” said Trump. “Nobody has done better for our Black community than me. Nobody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln. It’s true.”
On July 21, Trump tweeted that the “game is over” if he sees players kneeling during the anthem. But last week New Orleans Pelicans’ guard JJ Redick told Yahoo Sports that he really doesn’t care if Trump watches or not.
“First of all, I don’t think anybody in the NBA cares if President Trump watches basketball. I couldn’t care less,” Redick said.
(Photos from left: Katharine Lotze/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)