LeBron James will not be checking into the Trump SoHo Hotel.He and a few other team members will find their own accommodations elsewhere when the Cleveland Cavaliers arrive to play against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, December 7.
The 46-story luxury building that opened in 2010 and is licensed through Donald Trump has a partnership with the Cavaliers, and most of the team will be staying there. But as someone who publicly endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton a month before Clinton lost the election, LeBron James has been excused from the guest list.
The Cavs' manager, David Griffin, said that more than half of the 14 players may have joined James in staying somewhere else, and alternative accommodations have been made. Although Trump doesn't own the hotel, his branding through the licensing agreement has affected a decline in foot traffic in the establishment since Trump blazed the presidential campaign trail. Since Trump was announced as the winner of the election on November 8th, the team has been very vocal about their disappointment. The Cavs reserve forward, Richard Jefferson, shared on Snapchat that his team celebrating their championship with Barack Obama at the nation's capitol would be the Cavaliers' last visit to the White House.
I just look across this league. There's been other players with 'scheduling conflicts' as they like to call it -- not necessarily a political stance. But I could see other scheduling conflicts coming up.The Cavs' shooting guard, Iman Shumpert, told Complex of his feelings toward the president-elect:
I understand people’s stance on Trump. I can’t get caught up in the racial, sexist bullshit he’s got going on. That’s his personal thing, ya dig? But I just don’t think he can make anything shake like that. He not finna start no civil war out here. I do think he’s crazy—straight up. I think he did that stuff to get people to think he’s willing to shake it up. But did I vote for him? No. The other stuff that comes with him, I can’t get with. But now that he’s here, I’m not finna drag my feet. I gotta work here, at least until the offseason, if I wanna go get a crib in the Islands.
We're already seeing a trend on NBA teams' boycott of Trump hotels. The Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks have all chosen to stay away from other Trump-branded hotels in Chicago and New York. Stan Van Gundy, a prominent Detroit NBA coach, supports the NBA players publicly speaking about their response to the election result:
I think every team's got to take a look at that. I think teams are getting tuned in a little but politically and everything else. And give the players a great deal of credit on that. I've been really proud of our own players and the players around the league, that they're attuned to what's going on and they're going to stand up for their values. I think that's impressive.Is it only a matter of time before we hear a response from the president-elect himself on Twitter?
H/T - uproxx, complex, espn, cnn