President Donald Trump and Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James have regularly disagreed with each other on numerous issues, leading to critical comments during speeches and on Twitter. The back-and-forth continued on Saturday during a rally in Avoca, Pennsylvania. Trump criticized the NBA's ratings, and the crowd responded by chanting "LeBron James sucks."
The president began discussing the NBA and its ratings during the season restart and the championship game. He expressed the opinion that the reasons for the decline in numbers are the social justice protests and players kneeling during the national anthem. Trump began to discuss the NFL as well, but the crowd interrupted him. The attendees continued to chant "LeBron James sucks" while the president looked around.
"LeBron James sucks!" chants at the Trump rally pic.twitter.com/XbSZrhn961— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 2, 2020
"How about basketball? How about Lebron? I felt badly for LeBron," Trump said during the rally. "I felt very badly. Down 71% and that's for their championship — I didn't watch one shot. I get bored. ... You know why? When they don't respect our country, when they don't respect our flag, nobody wants to watch. Nobody!"
Numbers were down during Game 6 of the NBA Finals in which the Lakers defeated the Heat to capture the 17th title in franchise history. An estimated 5.6 million viewers tuned in for the game, marking the lowest-rated Finals on record. By comparison, the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night drew 11.4 million viewers.
Trump and James have previously taken shots at each other based on differing political views and other factors. For example, the president appeared on Rush Limbaugh's show in mid-October and criticized the NBA player for his comments about him and the support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"He's a great basketball player, but people don't want to see a guy that's that way. They don't want to see that. … He's a hater," Trump said, per the Hollywood Reporter. "You don't want to sit down, watch a basketball game, and then watch somebody that hates your guts, okay."0comments
James, on the other hand, has previously butted heads with Trump. He called the president a "clown" on his Instagram Stories during a presidential debate. He also pleaded with his followers to head to the polls on Nov. 3. James also previously said that the NBA wouldn't be sad about losing Trump as a viewer but has since proclaimed that he won't go back and forth with Trump.
"I don't go back and forth with anybody," James said during an interview with the New York Times. "And I damn sure won’t go back and forth with that guy. But we want better, we want change in our community. We always talk about, 'We want change,' and now we have the opportunity to do that."