LOS ANGELES, United States, Feb 9 – NBA superstars LeBron James and Stephen Curry are rivals on the court, but they were united Wednesday in their willingness to call out US President Donald Trump.
Golden State Warriors star Curry stepped gamely into the political fray with a sly response to Under Armour apparel company chief Kevin Plank’s description of Trump as a “real asset” to the country.
“I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et’ from asset,” Curry told the Mercury News when asked about the comments from Plank.
Curry is the key endorser of Under Armour’s line of basketball apparel. He’s under contract with the firm through 2024, and acknowledged he was surprised to hear Plank’s comment, made in an interview this week with CNBC.
Curry, who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the bitter US presidential election, told the Mercury News he had spoken to “countless people” at Under Armour.
He said he was reassured by a statement released by Plank on Wednesday, clarifying the remarks in which he said having “such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country”.
In the statement, Plank said Under Armour has long been committed to supporting American jobs and manufacturing, but stressed the Baltimore-based firm was committed to diversity — something critics say Trump policies undermine.
“We have teammates from different religions, races, nationality, genders and sexual orientations; different ages, life experiences and opinions,” the statement said. “This is the core of our company.”
Curry said he wouldn’t rule out a departure from the company that manufactures his signature basketball shoe.
“If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am,” he said.
“So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, an outspoken critic of Trump’s executive order limiting travel to the United States by refugees and travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries, said he was proud of his players for speaking out on political and social issues.
“This is a time when people are speaking out,” Kerr said. “This is a time when activism is into the forefront, all over the map.”
James, who campaigned in Ohio for Clinton during the election, added his voice to those criticizing Trump’s travel ban, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
“Diversity is what makes this country so great,” James said. “We should all continue to speak up and fight for ideas that bring people together regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs or any other differences.”
James directly addressed Trump’s executive order on travel, which has been temporarily blocked by legal challenges.
“I am not in favor of this policy or any policy that divides and excludes people,” James said. “I stand with the many, many Americans who believe this does not represent what the United States is all about. And we should continue to speak out about it.”