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NBA figures turning up rhetoric on Donald Trump

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It is safe to say President Donald Trump has a few detractors. Many of his supporters tend to keep their views to themselves, but those opposed to him, especially those in the entertainment world, often have a lot to say.

Sports figures, including those aligned with the NBA, are beginning to share their views. Players such as LeBron James make no secret of their disdain for the 45th President. Some coaches and owners are joining the forum.

Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich might be on opposite sides when their teams meet on the court, but there is something they have in common. The Golden State Warriors‘ coach and San Antonio Spurs‘ head man are not big fans of the President.

Both coaches were prompted to comment on the tumultuous opening days of the Trump Administration on days their teams scored impressive road victories. One took the humor route, while the other was significantly harsher.

On Sunday, after the Warriors blew away the Orlando Magic, Kerr had the chance to use sarcasm instead of venom.

Kerr, who briefly played for the Magic in 1992-93, was introduced before the game by Magic PA Announcer Paul Porter as a “former Magic star.” Kerr was asked in the postgame interview if that was an example of “alternative facts,” the term used to describe an incorrect statement provided by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday.

Kerr averaged 2.6 points per game during his brief Magic stay, so he took the chance to jab Spicer.

“Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now,” Kerr told reporters. “14,000 points. Greatest Magic player ever.”

Popovich, on the other hand, was far more direct. Before his team scored a huge victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was prompted to comment on the President.

“All of the things he said (during the campaign), if our children would have said it, we would have grounded them for six months,” he said. “But we ignore all of that, because…because why? That says something about all of us.”

It’s not the first time either coach has commented on Trump and it likely will not be the last. Shortly after the election, Popovich described the fact Trump is leading our country as “disgusting.”

Sports figures, like anyone else, are free to offer their political opinions. They have the right to say what they think, just as much as those hearing the message can tune it out or react negatively to it.

Popovich and Kerr are at the top of their profession and can feel free to comment without significant fallout from their fan base as long as their teams keep winning. How many coaches with losing records are commenting on political issues?

Another well-known NBA figure with anti-Trump views is Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban. The star of “Shark Tank” openly campaigned for Hillary Clinton and called Trump “bat **** crazy” on the trail.

Yet, he is taking a “wait-and-see” attitude on President Trump. To the surprise of many, Cuban is not piling on.

“Rather than shadow boxing about what he might do, I’d rather deal with what he does,” Cuban said. “And there are some positive things and some negative things, just like with any president.”

If the economy grows like Trump predicts, entrepreneurs like Cuban will benefit, which makes his comments a smart approach. He has far more business interests than just the Mavericks.

If the Spurs or the Warriors win the NBA Championship, will the team accept invitations to the White House as other champions before them? If the Cavaliers repeat, there will clearly be some issues, according to forward Richard Jefferson. James will “cross that bridge” when it appears.

Who will be next to step in the spotlight?

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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