opinion

ENOUGH

Donald Trump’s Racist, Idiotic Attack on Sports Legend LeBron James

A man who ran a sham “university”—and whose administration is imprisoning children—took aim at a far-more-altruistic man who’s promoting his school for underprivileged kids.

opinion

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

The Trumpwagon has once again pulled into the sports-related racism station, which means I, a sportswriter, get to write about it.

There are a dozen reasons I can give you why this is racist and idiotic. LeBron James is wildly successful, a dude who has leveraged his gifts into a multi-pronged empire that will, in all likelihood, pay out for the rest of his life. He is publicly beloved, charitable in a way that goes beyond dollars and actually sells a vision of a better world. James is a tremendously brilliant basketball player, an on-court weapon whose tremendous physical gifts are transmogrified into pure competitive heroin by dint of his ability to see the entire court at all times and milk the absolute most efficient play out of nearly every possession he has.

Anyone—anyone—calling him stupid like this is being a goddamn racist, plain and simple—casting aside a body of tremendous work because the color of his skin doesn’t line up with the assumptions that a racist society has about what black men can accomplish. In the case of Trump here, it goes beyond blowing a dog whistle and resembles more of a dog trumpet, an audible blast cascading over the mountains and sticking up the arm hairs of every member of his impressionable, white, QAnon-humping, Extremely Online base.

Trump, it should be noted, certainly doesn’t seem like a moral genius himself, what with the throwing separated brown children in prisons, the scam “university” that preyed on veterans and the elderly, the bankruptcies, the various sketchy charities that mostly existed to stick money back into his golf courses, the whole drifting around in public sporting messed-up hair plugs and a suit that’s like six sizes too big—not to mention watching CNN at seven in the evening and personally reacting like a petulant child to a celebrity criticizing him in an interview about the not-even-close-to-a-scam school-for-disadvantaged-children that he just built in his hometown.

Also, it should be noted, he seemed to think LeBron was pretty swell before he was on TV saying something critical of him, when he was just a regular celebrity whose ass he could kiss online in the hopes of getting those sweet, sweet RTs:

This tweet is the kind of crap that sports talk radio blowhards and third-rate local newspaper columnists have been doing since the seventies, trashing a black athlete’s intellect or commitment or drive or propensity to smoke marijuana or have casual sex or whatever, playing into the racism of their audience while keeping it all vague enough to suggest plausible deniability.

Here, that plausible deniability comes in the form of Trump staking out support for Michael Jordan, a player Bron is getting favorably compared to more and more these days. At least presumably— the “Mike” of the tweet could be Mike Miller for all we know of the bats floating around in that dude’s head. Jordan, whose colossal stake in his own broad marketability keeps him from wading into politics in public (privately is a different story), has staked out support for LeBron in this matter, releasing a statement that says, “I support LJ. He’s doing a great job for his community.” That’s how stupid and racist this is: that Michael Jordan, a dude who A) Hates talking about politics in public, and B) Is viciously competitive and probably deeply annoyed by the sports commentariat trying to use LeBron to toss him from his GOAT throne, had to get out there and say, “Uhh c’mon, this is some racist shit to say about a dude who OPENED A PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR DISADVANTAGED KIDS THIS WEEK.”

And hey, look who fucking loves it: the most vile and craven manifestation of that hideous sportswriting tradition that Trump is tapping into!

Don’t get me wrong: Clay can and should go live in a sewer, where rats can slowly nip away at his flesh until he is a pile of bones that are racist in the way that makes you money writing nonsense for Fox Sports, but there’s a kernel of truth in this one! We’re living in the goddamn #content presidency, where the president is operating like a sports blogger, watching a goddamn LeBron James CNN interview on Friday night and hunting for some shit he can write about for clicks and attention and juice.

In writing about it myself, in seeing this racist nonsense and heaving myself toward a keyboard and writing the ten thousandth article about how Trump is racist dog-whistling garbage, one begins to feel like they are looking in a funhouse mirror, shouting at a dude who, even if he is terrible at literally every other aspect of being president, is possessed of a perverse gift for mining cultural grievances he can sell to rubes.  

I don’t even quite know why he does it anymore. His administration is perpetuating unimaginable horrors every day, appointing judges who will seek to keep the country in the dark ages for fifty years, gutting public education and welfare as much as humanly possible, supporting the child kidnapping of a paramilitary ethnic maintenance force, and people will tell you this LeBron James shit is just a tactic to take eyeballs away from all those horrors. I suspect it serves that function, to a degree.

But he just seems way too stupid and impulsive for that, doesn’t he? Doesn’t he just seem like a bad sports columnist doing everything he can to gin up clicks? Stay tuned, assholes: after the commercial break we’re gonna talk about Brooke Shields, very past her prime, and how she is disrespecting the brave men and women of our Coast Guard.