First Lady Melania Trump breaks with president, joins Michael Jordan and sports figures in backing LeBron James

Count Melania Trump among those supporting Lebron James in his heated war of words with the president.

In a volley of late-night tweets, President Donald Trump publicly questioned the intelligence of NBA star LeBron James, who has yet to respond publicly. The leader of the free world effectively reignited a bitter feud between the two that began last fall. Earlier this week, James was interviewed by CNN, during which time the player renewed his critique of Trump as “using sports to kinda divide people.”

In a statement released by her spokeswoman, the first lady believed the 3-time NBA champion “is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

As was the case last fall, a slew of sports figures — including basketball legend Michael Jordan, who Trump name-checked in his Twitter tirade — have rallied to James’ defense. One of those was Stephen Curry, who tweeted his support for his erstwhile opponent in the NBA Finals, as well as the owner of the Lakers.

The statement from Melania Trump also promoted campaign against child cyber bullying, and said the first lady was “open” to the prospect of visiting James’ school for low-income youth, which he announced this week.

In a separate statement issued on Saturday, Los Angeles Lakers CEO and owner Jeanie Buss said that the team “could not be more proud to have LeBron James as part of our Lakers family. He is an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent leader and clearly appreciates the power that sports has to unite communities and inspire the world to be a better place. Those efforts should be celebrated by all.”

Below is the full statement from Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s spokesperson:

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today. As you know, Mrs. Trump has traveled the country and world talking to children about their well-being, healthy living, and the importance of responsible online behavior with her Be Best initiative. Her platform centers around visiting organizations, hospitals and schools, and she would be open to visiting the I Promise School in Akron. “

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