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."
Thousands came to cheer President Trump in Duluth. pic.twitter.com/SEzYnpnr5p
— Glen Stubbe (@gspphoto) June 21, 2018
— parikop (@peekay622) June 21, 2018
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."
I’d love to get definitive confirmation. 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. pic.twitter.com/A99QSV56s4
— Henry Lake (@lakeshow73) June 21, 2018
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"
Kevin McHale is extremely stupid for attending a public Trump event. That, as much as his politics, is why he should never work in the NBA again
— Nathaniel Friedman (@freedarko) June 21, 2018
Others also went on Twitter to express their anger at McHale.
Hall of Fame Celtic Kevin McHale and his wife attended a TRUMP rally?
You're an analyst in a sport that is 75% black.
You literally make money off the hard work of black athletes.
Is this real? If so, he's gonna have a rough week. pic.twitter.com/pY6zCfI7gj
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) June 21, 2018
We getting Kevin McHale outta here?
— Adrian Kofnarowski (@KofieYeboah) June 21, 2018
I'm not mad, Kevin McHale.
I'm just … disappointed.
— Chris Walder (@WalderSports) June 21, 2018
Slap a scarlet letter on Kevin McHale and anybody else still supporting Trump after three years of this BS.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) June 21, 2018
Kevin McHale just became the other side of Collin Kaepernick. Hard to see him ever coaching again in the NBA.
— Kelly Scaletta (@KellyScaletta) June 21, 2018
turns out James Harden was extremely correct when he called Kevin McHale a clown https://t.co/Jer1FAJu6t
— Jen Statsky (@jenstatsky) June 21, 2018
Neither TNT nor the NBA have commented on McHale's employment status going forward.