President Trump lashed out on the basketball star LeBron James in a scathing assault on Twitter on Friday night time after Mr. James criticized the president in an interview on CNN.
In a wide-ranging interview with Don Lemon, an anchor on CNN, on Monday, Mr. James spoke a couple of college for at-risk youngsters that he just lately helped open in his hometown, Akron, Ohio, in a partnership between his philanthropic basis and town’s public faculties. Through the interview, he additionally mentioned Mr. Trump was utilizing sports activities to divide the nation.
The interview was aired once more on Friday night time, and Mr. Trump responded on Twitter shortly after, insulting Mr. James’s intelligence and that of Mr. Lemon.
“Lebron James was simply interviewed by the dumbest man on tv, Don Lemon,” Mr. Trump wrote. “He made Lebron look good, which isn’t straightforward to do. I like Mike!”
The reference to “Mike” gave the impression to be Mr. Trump’s manner of taking sides within the debate over who’s the best basketball participant of all time: Mr. James or Michael Jordan.
Mr. Lemon came to Mr. James’s defense on Saturday morning, tweeting: “Who’s the true dummy? A person who places youngsters in lecture rooms or one who places youngsters in cages?” He added the hashtag #BeBest, a reference to an initiative by the primary woman, Melania Trump, that goals to assist youngsters.
Through the interview, Mr. James mentioned conversations about race had “taken over” partially as a result of “our president is form of making an attempt to divide us.”
“Sort of?” Mr. Lemon mentioned, adopted by a chuckle.
“He’s,” Mr. James mentioned. “He’s dividing us.”
Mr. James mentioned his involvement in sports activities was the primary time “I ever was round somebody white,” including, “And I obtained a possibility to see them and study them and so they obtained a possibility to study me, and we turned superb buddies.”
Mr. James has been essential of the president up to now. Final September he called Mr. Trump a “bum” after the president appeared to disinvite the N.B.A. championship-winning Golden State Warriors from a traditional White House visit because one of their stars, Stephen Curry, criticized Mr. Trump.
“U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going!” Mr. James wrote on Twitter. “So due to this fact ain’t no invite. Going to White Home was an ideal honor till you confirmed up!”
In June, earlier than Mr. James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers, Mr. Curry and Mr. James united throughout the N.B.A. finals to say that they’d boycott the White Home.
“I do know whoever wins this sequence, nobody desires an invitation,” Mr. James mentioned on the time. Afterward, Mr. Trump introduced that neither crew was invited.
On Monday, the identical day because the CNN interview, Mr. James informed ESPN that he felt compelled to talk out concerning the Trump administration.
“For somebody to attempt to divide us through the use of our platform of sport?” he mentioned. “Sport has given me the whole lot I may ever ask for. I couldn’t let that occur.”
Mr. Trump’s tweet on Saturday was swiftly condemned by many on social media, together with Dan Quite, the previous CBS Information anchor, who mentioned the president’s phrases have been racist.
“That is apparently what the President of the US feels the necessity to share with the world at what must be long gone his bedtime? It’s a shame. It’s racist. And it’s the product of petty however harmful hatreds,” Mr. Rather wrote. “I repeat that is the PRESIDENT??!?”
Quite a few present and former N.B.A. gamers additionally denounced the president’s tweet.
As of Saturday morning, Mr. James remained silent on the matter.
By late Saturday morning, the president had moved on, and was wishing the Coast Guard a cheerful birthday on Twitter.