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Volume 25 No. 66
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LeBron James, Kevin Durant Criticize Trump In New Video

James and Durant rode around Akron together as Champion led the political conversation

LeBron James and Kevin Durant in a video released Thursday "touched on the political situation" in the U.S. and "shared their dislike" for President Trump, according to Des Bieler of the WASHINGTON POST. The scene, "produced by James’s Uninterrupted multimedia platform," was filmed last month on the night before Warriors-Cavaliers. The players "sat in the back seat of a car," riding around James’ hometown of Akron, as ESPN's Cari Champion "drove and led the conversation." James: "The climate is hot. ... I never felt like I could be the president of the United States, but I grabbed inspiration from that. At this time right now, with the president of the United States, it’s at a bad time, and while we cannot change what comes out of that man’s mouth, we can continue to alert the people that watch us, that listen to us, that this is not the way." Durant: "You need to empower people, you need to encourage people, and that’s what builds a great team. ... I feel like our team, as a country, is not run by a great coach." James said of Trump's rhetoric, "It’s not even a surprise when he says something. It’s laughable" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/16). USA TODAY's Tom Schad writes James has "not been shy about criticizing Trump since he took office." An example came in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., last August, when James "referred to Trump as the 'so-called president'" (USA TODAY, 2/16).

DEFENSIVE STANCE: Fox News’ Laura Ingraham said of James and Durant, “Must they run their mouths like that? Unfortunately, a lot of kids, and some adults, take these ignorant comments seriously. ... This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA, and it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball. Oh, LeBron and Kevin, you’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach, so keep the political commentary to yourself. Or as someone once said, ‘Shut up and dribble’” (“The Ingraham Angle,” Fox News, 2/15). In response to Ingraham,  ESPN's Jemele Hill tweeted, "LeBron is one of greatest examples of our country we’ve ever seen. He went from nothing to something. He had to be excellent at everything. To insinuate he’s not intelligent is appalling."'s Melissa Jacobs: "LeBron grew up in poverty, raised by a single mother. Was managed by his high school buddies. Predators awaiting everywhere. So much money. Fame. Power. Yet, name one real issue. Holds the ball too much? LeBron is an inspiration." Yahoo Sports' Chris Mannix: "Critics of NBA players speaking out on social/political issues that cite players wealth are completely oblivious to the fact that most of these athletes dug themselves out of abject poverty to get it." Eagles DE Chris Long: "What’s the prerequisite for who can talk politics?"