Why, hello, LeBron James. On Monday, you were part of Donald Trump’s traveling campaign rally road show Monday.
Trump, who was stumping in Avoca, Pa., brought up the NBA star to mock the TV ratings for basketball and NFL games.
The mention of one of the best NBA players in history delighted the raucous crowd. They started chanting “LeBron James sucks.”
Trump likes to bring up athletes in his tweets and rally speeches. And he also throws out names of celebrities who he believes wronged him. On Monday, he chided both Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi, too.
On Monday, Trump said: “How about basketball? How about LeBron. I felt badly for LeBron, I felt very badly. Down 71 percent. That’s for their championship. I didn’t watch one shot.
“When they don’t respect our country, when they don’t respect our flag, nobody wants to watch, Nobody. And the NFL is way down. NFL is way down. You’ve got to stand for our flag, got to be really great to our flag and to our anthem. And when you don’t do that, we’re not watching.”
Maybe Trump noticed that James tweeted about Barack Obama and Obama’s sizzling three-point shot.
All Sports Viewing Down, Not Just NFL and LeBron James’ NBA Playoff Games
There’s a popular narrative that the NBA playoffs and NFL games experienced ratings drops because so many people were turned off by protests and the sight of players kneeling for the anthem.
The NBA championship series, won by James’ Los Angeles Lakers, averaged 7.5 million viewers a game. That was a 51% decline from the previous year and a 67% drop from 2018. The NBA moved its playoffs to the fall after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the league in March. Sports fans were forced to choose between NFL games, U.S. Open tennis, the World Series, WNBA and NHL playoffs.
Overall, Sports Media Watch reported the six-game Lakers-Heat series per game average was the lowest in NBA championship history. Previously, San Antonio-Cleveland in 2007 had been the least watched with 9.29 million per game.
But all sports are seeing a drop in ratings. According to Yahoo Sports, the ratings for the Major League Baseball playoffs were down 39 percent, NFL dropped 14 percent and National Hockey League playoffs 25 percent. The Stanley Cup Final saw a 61 percent plunge.
James isn’t fond of Trump. He called him a “bum” back in 2017. He also went on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton in 2016.
James hasn’t publicly endorsed Joe Biden this campaign season. Instead, James put his money behind his new group “More than a Vote.” It seeks to battle voter suppression while mobilizing voters.