The Cleveland Cavaliers will be in New York playing the Knicks this week, but some players, including LeBron James, have decided against staying at the team’s scheduled accommodations: the Trump SoHo.
The accommodations were arranged before the 2016 presidential election. President-elect Donald Trump does not hold equity in the property, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but like many Trump-branded properties, the president-elect holds a licensing agreement with the hotel.
James told reporters on Wednesday that his decision was his “personal preference” and that he was not trying to make a political statement.
“At the end of the day, I hope he’s one of the best presidents ever for all our sakes,” he said.
Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin told the Cleveland Plain Dealer the defending champions were given the option to stay elsewhere. “Griffin said upwards of half the team ― the Cavs travel with 14 players ― may not stay there,” the Plain Dealer reported.
The team has made plans for a “group that wants to be elsewhere to be together elsewhere,” Griffin told The Associated Press.
Earlier this month, three NBA teams ― the Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks ― announced they would stop staying at Trump-branded hotels “to avoid any implied association” with the president-elect. While the Cavaliers were not one of those teams, James was a vocal supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, endorsing the nominee one month before the election.
“If basketball has taught me anything, it’s that no one achieves greatness alone. And it takes everyone working together to create real change,” James wrote in his endorsement.
James also campaigned with Clinton in Cleveland just days before the general election.
James posted an impassioned message following Trump’s election, reminding followers that the country will be “alright” and that children can still “change the world.”
This post has been updated with comments from James.
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