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Former President Donald Trump's transgender joke about LeBron James drew outrage and criticism from LGBT+ groups.

Trump made the remark during a "Rally to Protect Our Elections" in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday.

He mused about signing male-to-female transgender players if he coached women's basketball.

Trump joked that the Los Angeles Lakers star could "get the operation" to change his sex in order to compete in women's basketball.

"If I were a coach, I wouldn't be talking to too many women as we know women," he said. "I'd be getting some of these people that [believe] they're 'women.'"

He continued:

"Somebody said that if LeBron James ever decided to get the operation, how would he be on the court? How would he be?

"LeBron James, you can have him. Did you see the [NBA] ratings that were terrible? They went up after his team was defeated."

James was a vocal anti-Trump critic while the former president was in office.

Trump called James "racist" and "divisive" after the NBA star tweeted a response to the police killing of Ohio teenager Ma'Khia Bryant in April.

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The director of the original Space Jam movie, starring Michael Jordan, says Space Jam 2, starring LeBron James, is "boring."

Joe Pytka told TMZ that "Space Jam: A New legacy" was so boring, he couldn't sit through the entire movie.

Pytka pointed out that when the original Space Jam was made in 1996, Michael Jordan was the biggest star in the world. He added that LeBron can't carry Jordan's water bottle.

"The truth is that LeBron ain't Michael," Pytka said.

Space Jam: A New Legacy topped last weekend's box office with a respectable $31.1 million in ticket sales.

Black Widow landed at the No. 2 spot with $25.8 million.

LeBron dunked on his "haters" after the box office receipts were announced on Monday.

"Hi Haters," he tweeted.

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Warner Bros.

Even LeBron James can't save the Warner Bros. sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy which opens in theaters everywhere on Friday, July 16.

The movie received some of the worst reviews of the year, according to reports.

One reviewer said the movie is vomit inducing. "[I]t all feels like Warner Bros. ingested an emetic and vomited up all their intellectual property."

CNN gave the movie a thumbs down:

"The first Space Jam was hardly a classic, which should temper expectations. Yet even by that standard, this marketing-driven exercise too often plays like the Acme version of it."

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LeBron attended the Los Angeles premiere with his wife Savannah Brinson James and their daughter Zhuri James.

Nicky Nelson/WENN.com

Space Jam 2 also stars Don Cheadle (pictured with his wife Bridgid); Cedric Joe, Wood Harris, and cameos by NBA and WNBA players Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, Sue Bird and Nneka Ogwumike.
 

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Adam Mendelsohn, the longtime adviser to LeBron James, apologized for saying he was "exhausted" by the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements.

LeBron James is a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter.

Mendelsohn, who is white, made the remark in a secretly recorded phone call with ESPN anchor Rachel Nichols in July 2020.

At the time, Nichols was under quarantine at a Walt Disney World resort near the NBA bubble in Orlando, as part of the NBA's Covid protocol.

Alone in her room, she used an ESPN video camera to host "The Jump" and appear in ESPN's pregame and post-game shows.

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Nichols, who is white, was upset that Black ESPN anchor Maria Taylor (left) was given the 2020 NBA Finals hosting gig. Nichols felt ESPN bosses were "pressured" due to their "crappy" history on diversity.

At some point during the phone call, Mendelsohn said, "I don't know. I'm exhausted. Between Me Too and Black Lives Matter, I got nothing left." Nichols laughed, apparently in agreement.

Unbeknownst to Nichols, the video camera in her room was still on and recording her phone call with Mendelsohn. The recording was live-streamed to a server at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Conn., according to the NY Times.

The audio clip was made public by the New York Times in an in-depth article about the racial rift between Nichols and Taylor that was published on Sunday, July 4.

Mendelsohn has since apologized in a statement to CNBC:

"I made a stupid, careless comment rooted in privilege and I am sincerely sorry. I shouldn't have said it or even thought it. I work to support these movements and know that the people affected by these issues never get to be exhausted or have nothing left. I have to continue to check my privilege and work to be a better ally."

The leaked audio clip confirmed the suspicions of several Black ESPN employees who believe their white colleagues support Black Lives Matter in public but act differently behind closed doors.

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The Phoenix Suns eliminated the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 113-100 in Game 6 on Thursday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

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Twitter/@NBA

The Suns won their first NBA playoff series since 2010, eliminating the Lakers 4 games to 2.

Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Lakers forward LeBron James (#23) finished with 29 points, nine rebounds, 7 assists, two blocked shots and 1 steal in a losing effort.

James was eliminated in the first round for the first time ever in his 18-year career, which includes 4 championships.

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The Lakers didn't have their eight-time All-star center Anthony Davis (#3) who suffered a groin injury in Game 4 and missed all of Game 5 of the series.

Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The team doctor gave Davis the OK to return to the starting lineup in Game 6. However, Davis was in obvious pain and struggled in the opening minutes. He headed to the locker room after playing less than 5 1/2 minutes of the 1st quarter.

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The Suns' star guard Devin Booker (#1) led all scorers with a playoffs career-high 47 points, 11 rebounds and eight 3-pointers. He made all six 3-point attempts in the 1st quarter.

Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

"I've been working my whole life for this moment... so it wasn't time to shy away from it," Booker told reporters after the game.

Booker and teammate Jae Crowder were ejected from the game in the final minute for a flagrant foul and a technical respectively.

Chris Paul scored 8 points and had 12 assists for the Suns.

Fans were angry that LeBron James walked off the court without shaking hands with the Western Conference champs after the game.

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He made up for his unsportsmanlike conduct by gifting a signed jersey to Booker, who sought him out in the arena tunnel after the game.

The Suns next face Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in game 1 of the second round on Monday, June 7, in Phoenix.

The Nuggets eliminated Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers 126-115 to clinch game 6 in Portland on Thursday night.

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A Philadelphia 76ers fan who tossed popcorn at Russell Westbrook was ejected from the arena and banned from attending future games.

The incident happened on Wednesday, May 26, when the Washington Wizards star was limping to the locker room after suffering a minor injury during Sixers Game 2 win.

As he limped into the tunnel, a Sixers fans causally dropped a few popcorn kernels on his head.

Westbrook went berserk as at least four strong assistants struggled mightily to restrain him.

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Twitter

Westbrook has a long history of verbal altercations with NBA fans in the stands. They know how to trigger the sensitive superstar.

NBA fans and players reacted to the incident on social media.

LeBron James, who is also a favorite target for hate, tweeted:

"By the way WE AS THE PLAYERS wanna see who threw that popcorn on Russ while he was leaving the game tonight with a injury!! There’s cameras all over arenas so there’s no excuse! Cause if the [shoe] was on the other [foot]. #ProtectOurPlayers."

 

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Former President Donald Trump called out LeBron James for his "racist rant" about the Columbus officer who shot a troubled teenager.

Ma'Khia Barnes, 16, was shot four times by Officer Nick Reardon as she raised a knife to stab a woman during a fight outside a foster care group home on Tuesday.

The shooting occurred about an hour before former cop Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

James posted a photo of Officer Reardon and tweeted "YOU'RE NEXT" with the hashtag "ACCOUNTABILITY".

15 minutes later, James deleted the tweet and explained that he wrote the tweet out of anger.

Trump issued a statement on Thursday calling out James for inciting violence with his tweet.

"LeBron James should focus on basketball rather than presiding over the destruction of the NBA," Trump said in a statement. "His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning," he continued. "He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!"

Trump was among a plethora of celebrities, professional athletes, and politicians who called James out for his tweet.

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Twitter.com, Getty Images

LeBron James is accused of inciting violence against the Ohio police officer who saved the life of a woman by killing her attacker.

James deleted a tweet targeting the officer who shot 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant as she raised a knife to stab another female on Tuesday.

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Columbus PD

The officer shot Bryant four times after she ignored his commands. She collapsed to the ground and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The shooting occurred on Tuesday, April 20, about an hour before the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict was announced in Minnesota.

As protests erupted in Ohio, the Los Angeles Lakers star and Ohio native posted a photo of the officer and tweeted "YOU'RE NEXT". He added the hashtag "ACCOUNTABILITY".

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Facebook

Franklin County Children Services confirmed that Bryant, 16, was a foster child living in a foster home under the care of Franklin County Children Services.

Her aunt, Hazel Bryant, told The Dispatch that Bryant "got into an altercation with someone else at the home." Hazel said that Bryant dropped the knife before she was shot.

Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted that Bryant was "unarmed" when she was shot.

"As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting as @ColumbusPolice killed an unarmed 15 [year old] Black girl named Makiyah Bryant. Another child lost!," Crump tweeted hours after the shooting.

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Columbus PD

However, after reviewing the police body cam video, police and city officials determined the shooting was justified.

"It's a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It's a horrible, heartbreaking situation," Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said Tuesday night. "The city of Columbus lost a [16-year-old] girl today. We know based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community. But a family is grieving tonight. And this young [16-year-old] girl will never be coming home."

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NBA stars LeBron James (left) and LaMelo Ball (right) suffered serious injuries in NBA games over the weekend.

James suffered a high ankle injury during this weekend's Lakers loss to the Atlanta Hawks at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The 36-year-old forward injured his ankle when Hawks forward Solomon Hill fell on top of him as he tried to secure a loose ball on the court.

James screamed out in agony, but he stayed in the game and scored a 3-pointer before throwing a chair and hobbling to the locker room.

An MRI confirmed a high ankle sprain. James' injury opens the door for Trail Blazers superstar Damian Dillard to win this season's MVP award.

The Lakers are without their two superstars after losing forward Anthony Davis to a calf strain in his right leg.

In other NBA injury news, Charlotte Hornets rookie guard LaMelo Ball will miss the rest of the season after fracturing his wrist on Saturday.

Michael Owens/Getty Images

Ball #2 of the Hornets fractured his right wrist on this play as his shot was defended by Nicolas Batum #33 of the LA Clippers during the second quarter at the Staples Center.

The 19-year-old guard, who was expected to win Rookie of the Year, averaged 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game.
 

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After canceling Dr. Seuss, the classic cartoon character Pepé Le Pew's head is next on the chopping block.

The Looney Tunes character was dropped from the live animation sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring LeBron James.

In one scene, Pepe, the bartender, flirts with Greice Santo's character by kissing her arm which she rejects with an open handed slap.

Pepe then tells James and Bugs Bunny that Penelope Pussycat filed a restraining order against him. James responds that the skunk can't go around kissing other cartoon characters without their consent.

Deadline states Santo was "upset" over the removal of the scene, according to her spokesperson.

"This was such a big deal for Greice to be in this movie. Even though Pepe is a cartoon character, if anyone was going to slap a sexual harasser like him, Greice wished it would be her," said the spokesperson. "Now the scene is cut, and she doesn't have that power to influence the world through younger generations who'll be watching Space Jam 2, to let younger girls and younger boys know that Pepe’s behavior is unacceptable,” the statement read."

Deadline.com reports that the French skunk's scenes were cut after director Malcolm D. Lee took over from the movie's first director Terence Nance.

Lee desexualized curvaceous Looney Tunes cartoon character Lola Bunny whose curves dominated scenes in the original Space Jam starring the g.o.a.t Michael Jordan.

Charles Blow, a columnist for the New York Times, complained on Twitter that Pepe was too overly amorous in old cartoons. He said Pepe "normalized rape culture" and convinced boys that "no doesn't mean no."

Blow shared an old cartoon clip on Twitter of Pepe forcibly restraining and kissing Penelope.