Chris Sheridan, one of the nation’s leading sports writers, dropped a bombshell today when he posted a report that LeBron James plans to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of the season. That in itself is not a surprise, and many knew it might happen, but Sheridan’s bombshell is the reason why James is leaving: President Donald Trump.
Sheridan was among the first to break the story that James was leaving the Cavs for Miami years ago, so he certainly has good sources. He is now claiming that James plans to bolt from Cleveland once again this off-season when his contract ends, because team owner Dan Gilbert supports President Trump.
That may sound like a petty excuse, but consider the fact that LeBron James has been an extremely vocal opponent against the President, even going so far as to say he doesn’t give a “f**k” about the American people.
Given James’ famously enormous ego, it is certainly not out of the realm of reality for him to use such an excuse to leave a team.
When the information was given to me, my source said: “The entire NBA knows it. The only people who don’t are the media.”
And as I mentioned in that pinned tweet, the reason for James’ pending departure is a relationship with ownership that is beyond repair.
So let’s take a look at what each of these guys stands for, put it together with the polarized political climate in the United States, and provide some additional clarity to skeptics, trolls, the NBA intelligensia, et al.
The No. 1 reason why this is going to happen is because Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is a huge Trump supporter; LeBron is not.
It is a matter of public record that Gilbert donated $750,000 to President Trump’s inauguration fund. Quicken is now the largest mortgage lender in America, and according to Fortune’s real-time wealth calculator, Gilbert woke up this morning with a net worth of $6.3 billion.
According to the report, James’ feud with Trump escalated when Fox News host Laura Ingraham responded to James by telling him to “shut up and dribble.”
James, meanwhile, in currently engaged in a back-and-forth with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who said that James that should “shut up and dribble.” Last Friday, James issued a response in the form of a photo uploaded to his Instagram account that read “I am more than an athlete” and included the hashtag “#wewillnotshutupanddribble.”
So this divide between James and Gilbert is political, cultural and economical. If you have ever engaged in a political argument in this day and age of extreme polarization, you probably have an idea of how combustive opinions can become. It is no different in the sports world.
Ingraham’s attacks were made in response to a recent video podcast that featured James and Kevin Durant. The podcast’s host, Cari Champion, asked the two players how they would describe the current climate for politically engaged athletes.
James, who last year called the President a “bum” on Twitter, said the climate “is hot.” Going a step further, he said Trump is “someone who doesn’t understand the people — and really don’t give a [expletive] about the people.”
James himself will not speculate on his plans for next year.