According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Lakers will not be staying at the Trump SoHo hotel this week. They were initially scheduled to stay there in advance of their game in Brooklyn against the Nets on Wednesday, but they decided not to because of “security concerns.” Supposedly, the choice had nothing to do with politics, the team didn’t want protests to disrupt their schedules.
A source with knowledge of the team’s decision, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and requested anonymity, emphasized that the decision to switch hotels was not politically motivated.
The Trump SoHo bears the president elect’s name, but he doesn’t have any stake in the hotel. The Lakers join the Bucks, Mavericks, Grizzlies, and half of the Cavaliers in eschewing Trump-owned and -branded hotels, although the Times says that their choice was not a political one.
Still, given all the press that the four other abstaining teams have received, it’s hard to believe that their choice came down to mere logistics. Wanting to keep a tight schedule at the start of a long road trip is a perfectly fine desire, especially since their game is in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. That said, their choice and the timing of this report are a bit suspicious. Most protests have centered around the Trump Tower, which Trump does own, not the Trump SoHo (for purposes of illustration, here’s a meagerly attended protest from two weeks after the election.) Perhaps the team wants to quietly disassociate themselves from the Trump name without making a large stand, or maybe they don’t want to stay there, but can’t simply cancel their stay due to an agreement with the hotel.