Melania praises LeBron James after Trump insults National Basketball Association star

LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron Ohio Monday

LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron Ohio Monday

National Basketball Association legend Michael Jordan and U.S. athletes rallied to LeBron James' defense on Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump questioned the star player's intelligence in a tweet.

Trump previewed his message for the Columbus-area rally with a tweet saying that while Balderson "is strong" on issues like crime and immigration, "his opponent is a puppet of Nancy Pelosi/high taxes".

"Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon", Trump tweeted in a swipe at a news network he often derides. Trump, who has been known to live-tweet his TV watching, was responding to a recent CNN interview between Lemon and James about LeBron's "I Promise" school.

This weekend's controversy was just the latest in a long-running feud between James and Mr Trump.

A spokeswoman for Melania Trump says it appears that LeBron James is "working to do good things" and that the first lady would be willing to visit the new school he opened in Ohio.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after a play against the Boston Celtics in game six of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena.

"As you know, Mrs Trump has travelled the country and world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behaviour with her Be Best initiative", she said.

Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Anthony Tolliver called the president's statements an "embarrassment".

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In an interview on Tuesday - also broadcast late Friday - Los Angeles Lakers player and philanthropist James told CNN he believed Trump "is kind of trying to divide us".

Even the president's wife was supportive of James' work with children. James said: "I would never sit across from him". "He's doing an unbelievable job for his community", Jordan said in a statement to The Associated Press through his representative via text Saturday.

Many former and current professional athletes, including Jordan, jumped to James' defense.

Following the airing of the interview, the President insulted James and interviewer Don Lemon in a series of tweets.

The President then ended the tweet with "I like Mike", a reference to the retired basketball player Michael Jordan, who used to play for the Chicago Bulls.

In February, James explained why he was critical of the president: "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".

Melania's different opinion in regards to LeBron isn't the first time she's expressed opposing views on something Donald's said or done. He routinely deems Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who is also black, as "low IQ" - an insult he repeated during the OH rally Saturday night.

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