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LeBron James, Other Cavaliers Excused From Staying at a Trump-Branded Hotel

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Keith Allison / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the latest NBA team to take a stand against the president-elect by refusing to stay at a Donald Trump-branded hotel.

According to ESPN, LeBron James is among a group of Cavaliers players granted alternate accommodations while staying in New York City to play the Knicks on Wednesday. The Cavaliers hold a contract with the Trump SoHo hotel (no longer owned by Trump) in Manhattan, and James chose to stay elsewhere.

His choice was made out of “personal preference,” James said. “I’m not trying to make a statement. … At the end of the day, I hope he’s one of the best presidents ever for all of our sake—my family, for all of us. But it’s just my personal preference.”

This marks the first time in James’ 14 seasons in the league that he is not staying with the rest of his team, he said.

The move was not much of a surprise, since James publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton in October.

Meanwhile, teammate Iman Shumpert has made his stance on the president-elect clear.

In an interview with Complex last week, Shumpert said, “I’m not going to the White House” if the Cavaliers win their second consecutive title.

AllDigitocracy’s Tracie Powell believes the players’ decision not to stay at the Trump SoHo had less to do with politics than with racism.

Powell writes:

For the record, for many people of color the decision not to step foot inside a hotel with president-elect Donald Trump’s name on it has nothing to do with Clinton, and everything to do with the hate and racism stirred up by Trump’s presidential campaign, and continues to be associated with his pending administration.

“If journalists ask the right questions, which would allow them to add context to their reporting, we wouldn’t get ignorant responses like this one from Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, who falsely stated that no athletes ever boycotted President Barack Obama. Neither Mediaite — nor TMZ, which originally reported the claim — bothered to set the record straight, but AllDigitocracy will.

The separate hotel accommodations for Cavaliers players is “not normal,” according to head coach Tyronn Lue. “But considering the circumstances, that’s what we have,” he told Cleveland.com.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks reportedly also have distanced themselves from Trump by forgoing their contracts with Trump-brand hotels in New York City and Chicago.

This move is “in part to avoid any implied association with the new president-elect, according to league sources,” ESPN’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe report. However, Grizzlies coach David Fizdale and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban deny claims that choices of their teams’ hotels are politically motivated. Cuban and Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry were supporters of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Other, unnamed, teams have also changed hotels “but did not specifically attribute the switch to any political reason,” according to Stein and Lowe.

Teams’ hotel arrangements for the season are usually made in August, meaning that the Grizzlies and Mavericks may have made the change during the offseason. The Bucks, after staying at the Trump International Tower and Hotel in Chicago preseason, have made arrangements with a different Chicago hotel for the regular season. Seven other NBA teams reportedly have contracts with Trump-licensed properties this season.

Posted by KiMi Robinson

KiMi Robinson
Intern
KiMi Robinson joined the Truthdig team in September 2016 as an intern and recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in English. With bylines in online publications from The Hollywood Reporter…
KiMi Robinson

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