NBA Legend Stirs Controversy for Apparently Attending Trump Rally in Minnesota

Media figures, liberal activists call on Kevin McHale to be fired as an NBA analyst

Kevin McHale / Getty Images
June 22, 2018

A Basketball Hall of Fame inductee sparked controversy this week after he appeared to attend a rally for President Donald Trump in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday night.

Kevin McHale, who played for the NBA's Boston Celtics from 1980 to 1993, drew rebuke from liberal activists after social media users noticed an individual matching the former player's 6-foot 10-inch frame in photos taken at the rally.

McHale, a Minnesota native, retired from the NBA as a player in 1993 but has remained active in the league as a manager, commentator, and coach—leading the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2008-2009 and the Houston Rockets from 2011-2015. Since 2016, he has been an analyst for NBA TV and Turner Sports' "NBA on TNT."

It remains unclear whether McHale is the man in the photos. The basketball great has refused to comment on the story.

The unconfirmed photos triggered rebuke from media figures and liberal activists, with many demanding the NBA cut all ties with McHale.

Henry Lake, a talk radio personality, said that if McHale admits he attended the rally, his employment should be terminated given "everything that is happening now and what Trump's done."

"I'd love to get definitive confirmation," Lake wrote. "But if Kevin McHale actually showed up to Trump's rally in Duluth today with everything that is happening now and what Trump's done and stands for, yeah he's cancelled."

GQ magazine writer Nathaniel Friedman echoed those sentiments, lambasting McHale for showing poor judgment by deciding to attend "a public Trump event." The writer asserted that McHale's choice "as much as his politics" exhibit "why he should never work" for the NBA again.

"Kevin McHale is extremely stupid for attending a public Trump event," Friedman tweeted. "That, as much as his politics, is why he should never work in the NBA again"

Others also went on Twitter to express their anger at McHale.

Neither TNT nor the NBA have commented on McHale's employment status going forward.