NBA

Barack Obama Just Praised LeBron James While Donald Trump Continues His Bashing of the NBA

LeBron James and the LA Lakers just won an NBA championship in one of the most challenging seasons of all-time. They not only had to deal with the season getting suspended due to COVID-19, but it was also almost boycotted to make a stand against social injustices in America. Teams additionally had to play games in a bubble, and the Lakers had to mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant. So, winning the title was a massive accomplishment. 

Since the night that the Lakers won it, many people have congratulated them through messages on social media and other platforms. This includes former U.S. President Barack Obama, who sent a message to LeBron James. He did this while America’s current president, Donald Trump, continued his bashing of the NBA.

LeBron James and the LA Lakers won the NBA championship

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It was a very long season for the Lakers and the rest of the NBA. Despite dealing with a pandemic, the loss of Bryant, playing in a bubble, and frustration with social injustices in America, LA played well throughout the entire season.

After going 52-19 and clinching the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers ran through the Western Conference playoffs. They ultimately defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets each in five games to reach the NBA Finals.

In the Finals, the Lakers then faced a tough opponent in the Miami Heat. After LA took a 2-0 lead and then a 3-1 lead in the series, Miami made things 3-2 thanks to some spectacular performances from Jimmy Butler. However, LA closed things out with a blowout win in Game 6.

LeBron James won his fourth title with the win, as well as his fourth NBA Finals MVP. He averaged 29.8 points per game, 11.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.2 steals in the series.

Barack Obama congratulated LeBron James and the Lakers

When LeBron James and the Lakers just won the Finals, Barack Obama congratulated them, while Donald Trump continued to bash the NBA.
LeBron James (from left) speaks to Former U.S. President Barack Obama during an event to honor the NBA champion Miami Heat on Jan. 28, 2013. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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Despite not being president anymore, Barack Obama has been very involved with the NBA this season.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that when James and other NBA players considered boycotting the rest of the season due to their frustration with continued instances of social injustice occurring in America, they spoke to Obama for advice. He reportedly advised them “to play and utilize the opportunity to contextualize action they want in order to play,” according to The Athletic.

Additionally, during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Obama was a virtual fan, continuing to show his support for the league.

Then, following the Lakers win in the NBA Finals, and the Seattle Storm’s win in the WNBA Finals, Obama tweeted this: “Congrats to the [Lakers] and [Seattle Storm] on their championship wins! Proud of all the NBA and WNBA teams and players who’ve been using their platforms to take a stand for racial justice and encourage civic participation this season.”

Obama also tweeted something personally to James.

“Proud of my friend [LeBron James] for his fourth title, fourth Finals MVP, and for not only living up to the hype after seventeen seasons, but surpassing it as an extraordinary leader both on the court and in the public arena fighting for education, social justice, and our democracy.”

This is a stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s message.

President Donald Trump continues to take shots at the NBA

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Trump has been critical of the NBA in the past. He has attacked players and coaches for using national anthem protests to stand up against social injustices and racism in America.

He continued to blast the NBA after the Finals too.

Trump first tweeted a story from Breitbart that pointed at the NBA’s disappointing ratings during the NBA Finals. According to NewsWeek, Game 6 of the NBA Finals had 5.6 million viewers, compared to Game 6 of the Finals in 2019, which had 18.4 million viewers. However, with the Finals being played in October, not in June, this year, their ratings had to compete with the NFL. They typically only have to compete with MLB regular-season games, and maybe the NHL. 

Along with the story, Trump tweeted: “Maybe they were watching in China, but I doubt it. Zero interest!”

Additionally, in a tweet on the next day, Trump took another shot at the NBA in a post about Drudge Report to radio host Dan Bongino.

“Congratulations Dan. You, Breitbart and others have decimated the business at Drudge. It’s gone the way of the [NBA], ratings down 70%. People want the TRUTH! Drudge Report sold out, suffered a massive ‘nervous breakdown.’ Happening [at Fox News] also???”

Trump is certainly not a fan of the NBA, while Obama might be its biggest. Their reactions to the NBA Finals continue to prove the massive divide between American citizens.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference