This evening, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers will head to Madison Square Garden to play a New York Knicks team that’s looking to further prove itself as a legitimate competitor in the East. But neither of these are the main storyline of the night. Instead, the biggest pre-game headline concerns what’s happening long before tip-off.
LeBron James and a handful of his Cavaliers teammates have been excused from staying at the Trump SoHo hotel in lower Manhattan while they’re in town to play the Knicks, report ESPN. This is being treated as a form of protest against President-elect Donald Trump.
This move makes sense, given that James was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton in the election and multiple members of the Cleveland roster spoke out following Trump’s victory – even saying that they wouldn’t be visiting the post-Trump White House if they win another championship during his tenure.
“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,” said Richard Jefferson.
The Cavaliers are scheduled to stay at the hotel because of a pre-established relationship, which is admittedly convenient when it comes to regularly booking lodging for 50-plus members of the franchise during road games. But three NBA teams — the Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks — have already come out to say they’ll no longer be staying at Trump properties. Perhaps the Cavs are next on the list.