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LeBron James calls Donald Trump a 'bum' as US sports stars get political

Donald Trump has said that the NBA champions won’t be be coming to the White House.

pjimage (8) US President Donald Trump and Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. Source: PA Images

A WAR OF words has broken out between US President Donald Trump and some of the the US’ most famous sports stars.

The spat has come about after Trump first attacked some American football players for not standing for the national anthem and a day later withdrew a White House invite to NBA basketball champions the Golden State Warriors.

Trump tweeted that he was withdrawing a White House invitation to the Golden State Warriors after several players voiced misgivings about attending a reception.

Trump singled out the team’s celebrated player Steph Curry in his tweet.

It was not immediately clear if the White House had formally extended an invitation to the Warriors to attend the reception, a tradition that goes back several decades.

Speaking yesterday, Curry said the Warriors could make a “statement” by declining to attend the White House reception if an invite was offered.

“Obviously, you don’t wanna rush to a decision on understanding the magnitude of what this means,” Curry told ESPN.

We have an opportunity to send a statement that hopefully encourages unity, encourages us to appreciate what it means to be American, and stand for something.

Later in the day, Curry went further and stated simply: “I don’t wanna go.”

Following Trump’s tweet attacking Curry, NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted his support for his fellow player, appearing to call the president a “bum”.

Warriors players have been among the most outspoken against Trump’s administration.

Last month, Kevin Durant said he would boycott the White House if the Warriors were invited, accusing Trump of escalating racial tensions in the United States.

“Nah, I won’t do that,” Durant told ESPN when asked whether he would attend the White House.

“I don’t respect who’s in office right now…I don’t agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that.”

Durant said he expected many teammates would follow suit:

That’s just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they’ll all agree with me.

American football

Trump’s war of words with Curry comes a day after Trump criticised the NFL players who have been refusing to stand for the US national anthem.

Some players, led by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have refused to stand for the anthem in protest at racial injustice and police brutality.

Their protests have provoked intense debate in the US but Trump ratcheted up focus on the issue in a speech in Alabama yesterday.

Source: CNN/YouTube

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump said.

You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it (but) they’ll be the most popular person in this country.

Today, the NFL hit back at Trump’s comments with the league’s commissioner Roger Goodell labelling them as “divisive”.

“There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month,” Goodell wrote.

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

- With reporting by © – AFP 2017

Read: ‘A horrible, horrible thing’: Trump slams McCain for blocking Obamacare repeal >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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