Since entering the NBA in 2003, LeBron James has achieved everything a basketball player dreams of. He’s won four MVPs, fourth titles, four Finals MVPs, and made generational money for his family.
However, despite being the best player of his generation, LeBron hasn’t always been celebrated by fans. He was booed in every road arena during his four years with the Miami Heat after creating the Big 3 with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010 and gets a lot of hate on social media for a variety of reasons.
LeBron is a great player and role model. Unfortunately, those two traits didn’t stop him from accomplishing a negative feat he never intended to achieve.
LeBron James’ popularity started to decline in 2010
In the summer of 2010, LeBron announced on ESPN that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Heat. It was a polarizing decision, and pundits and fans criticized him for using a TV show to announce such a big move.
Cavs fans cried and burned their LeBron jerseys. Meanwhile, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks supporters made the King enemy No. 1 on their dartboard since the 2003-04 Rookie of the Year took free-agent meetings with their respective teams but didn’t sign. LeBron quickly went from being the most popular player in the NBA to the most hated.
When the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Finals, NBA fans were thrilled to see LeBron fail on the biggest stage and lose to Dirk Nowitzki. It was fascinating to watch everyone outside of Miami fans root for LBJ to lose. The NBA hadn’t had this big of a villain since the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons teams.
After winning two championships with the Heat in 2012 and 2013, LeBron returned to the Cavs in the summer of 2014. He regained some of his popularity since he wrote a heartwarming letter called “I’m Coming Home” and delivered a title to Cleveland in 2016 after leading the Cavs to a 3-1 comeback win in the Finals over the 73-9 Golden State Warriors.
However, there are still plenty of LeBron haters in the world, and a new study showed how much people hate the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.
Study finds LeBron James is most hated player in NBA
According to a social media study conducted by SportsInsider.com, LeBron is the most hated player in the NBA. The research used geotagged Twitter data from the last month, tracking negative mentions of NBA players. The findings stated the Lakers forward is the NBA’s most hated player in 24 different states.
This is one poll LeBron certainly didn’t want to win. However, after he called himself the “GOAT” over Michael Jordan a few years ago and has become more political over the years, it’s not that surprising to see him voted as the most hated player.
After he lost in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career in this year’s postseason, LeBron saw a similar trend to what he experienced in 2011. Fans were happy the Chosen One won’t get a chance to win his fifth title and inch closer to Jordan’s six rings. It’s reached a point where as long as LeBron doesn’t win titles, NBA fans are pleased.
It’s a little strange that LeBron has so many haters since he’s given his blood, sweat, and tears to the game of basketball, is a once-in-a-generation player, and does so much charity work. It just goes to show that people haven’t gotten over his decision to join the Heat and are tired of his need to always be in the spotlight.
Expect more hate to come this summer
Space Jam: A New Legacy comes out July 16. Expect LeBron to get a lot of hate for this movie since anything he does gets scrutinized. Moreover, Jordan fans are upset that James is copying the Bulls legend, so they will surely be trolling the movie every chance they get.
Basketball fans should appreciate LeBron since we’ll likely never see another player like him again. He’s surpassed the grand expectations that were placed on his shoulders when he came into the league in 2003 by winning four titles and becoming the only player in NBA history to rank top 10 all-time in points and assists.
Unfortunately, LeBron haters will always exist since people can’t get over the constant Jordan comparisons and his decision to join the Heat in 2010.