Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is said to be putting together quite a cast of characters from the sports world to appear at next month’s national convention in Cleveland.
Former boxer Mike Tyson, former NFL coach Mike Ditka, former college basketball coach Bobby Knight and NASCAR chief Brian France have been tagged for some sort of role at the event, according to a report by Bloomberg Politics.
After that report was published Tuesday, folks apparently were giddy at the possibility of Tyson speaking in front of GOP delegates and a national television audience.
Trump took to Twitter that night to say that won't be the case.
Trump staged many of the former heavyweight champion’s fights at his Atlantic City, N.J., casinos in the 1980s.
When Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992, Trump suggested in lieu of prison that the boxer keep fighting with proceeds going to rape victims. Tyson ended up serving almost three years of a six-year prison sentence.
Tyson told the Daily Beast in January that he and Trump are “really good friends.”
“We’re the same guy,” Tyson said. “A thrust for power, a drive for power. Whatever field we’re in, we need power in that field. That’s just who we are.”
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Trump has expressed enthusiasm about the support he receives from Tyson. “Mike Tyson endorsed me, I love it,” Trump said in April. “You know, all the tough guys endorse me. I like that.”
Knight appeared at an Indiana rally for Trump in May. Earlier this month, Trump revealed that a phone call from Knight helped convince him to run for president.
“He called me up probably five months before I was going to run, Bobby Knight,” Trump said in Sacramento. “And he said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump, I don’t know you. But you’re the kind of guy I want to see run for president.’ This was before I decided to do it.”
France also appeared at a Trump rally, while Ditka has stated he’d likely vote for Trump.
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