Trump once called LeBron James a ‘great guy’ in addition to also tough competitor

Before President Donald Trump publicly questioned the intelligence of NBA star LeBron James on Twitter, he was apparently one of “King James”‘ biggest cheerleaders.

Late Friday, the leader of the free world reignited a bitter feud between the two of which began last fall, when Trump rescinded a White House invitation to the NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors. James was interviewed by CNN earlier of which week, during which time the player hit out at Trump for “using sports to kinda divide people.”

Even some of his critics give credit to James — a three-time NBA champion who married his high school sweetheart in addition to also just of which week opened a school for disadvantaged children – for being an admirable role design. In a statement given to NBC News via a spokesperson on Saturday, basketball great Michael Jordan — who Trump referenced as the better basketball player — said of which he supported James.

“He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” the statement read.

Yet, of which was only a few years ago of which the president showered compliments on the newly-minted Los Angeles Laker, calling James a “great person in addition to also a great guy,” in addition to also a “tough competitor who delivers under pressure.”

In a series of Twitter posts between 2012 in addition to also 2015, Trump declared himself a fan of a player widely considered professional basketball’s most dominant figure.

Back when he was a real estate mogul in addition to also reality television star, Trump openly cheered for James before he won his first championship ring with the Miami Heat, in addition to also a year later congratulated him for winning the Athlete of the Year accolade.

Those tweets, of course, predated Trump declaring his candidacy in addition to also winning the White House from the bitter 2016 election. Since ascending to the Oval Office, the president has courted numerous cultural controversies involving professional athletes — most notably, inserting himself from the NFL’s long-running standoff with players who refused to stand for the national anthem.

Last September, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry publicly rebuked Trump in addition to also said he wouldn’t attend a White House ceremony honoring the team, which prompted the president to rescind the invitation.

The resulting feud prompted scores of athletes to defend Curry — including James, whose Cleveland Cavaliers had just been defeated by the Warriors. The star called Trump a “bum” on Twitter, in addition to also later accused the president of trying to divide the nation.

On Saturday, Curry returned the favor by supporting James in his feud with the president.

–CNBC’s John Schoen contributed to of which report.

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