Los Angeles Lakers and NBA superstar LeBron James maybe has more haters than any athlete out there. He has not only been dominating opposing teams for almost two decades, but he’s an outspoken person who doesn’t back down from sharing his opinions, especially when it comes to important issues.
However, James loves to feel that tension from his haters and especially opposing fans on the road. In fact, he recently revealed just how much he enjoys shutting them all up.
Lakers superstar LeBron James uses hate for extra motivation
James has been one of the most famous people on the planet for almost 20 years. While there are plenty fans who love him, he also receives his fair share of hate. And that hate/doubt fuels him.
Take his first game back to Cleveland with the Miami Heat, for example. Those Cleveland Cavaliers fans created one of the most intense environments the NBA had ever seen, and it was just because he left and went to the Heat. James ultimately dropped 38 points on 60% shooting against the Cavs to go with eight assists and five rebounds.
Cavs fans have certainly softened up on James since then, especially after he won them a championship in 2016. However, in 2020-21, James and the Lakers traveled to The Land to take on the Cavs, and James ultimately missed a shot late in the third quarter. The Cavaliers then led 89-87 when the teams headed into the fourth.
However, when James missed that shot, a Cavs executive clapped and celebrated somewhat loudly; this fueled James to drop 21 points in the fourth (46 overall) and help the Lakers win 115-108.
“I felt he was a little too excited about seeing me miss,” James said after the win, per the New York Post.
There have been many other instances where fans have hated or doubted James, like the time he proved all his doubters wrong when he and the Cavs won the 2016 championship after trailing the Golden State Warriors 3-1 in the finals. There has also been a study that says James receives four times more abusive messages on Twitter than any other athlete does, per the Akron Beacon Journal. So, he essentially fires back at haters every day by just being the successful person he is.
James, though, sometimes enjoys feeling that intensity.
The King loves ‘shutting up’ opposing fans
James recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and guest host Arsenio Hall asked him how he feels about battling opposing fans while on the road.
“To feel that adversity, to feel that tension, is what brings out the best in us,” James said on the July 13 episode. “Your whole motivation, besides trying to win the game, obviously, is to shutting up the opposing fans and the opposing crowd. And making them go home and get no sleep because of you.”
James has certainly kept opposing coaches and players up at night throughout his career. But given how passionate some fans are, he’s probably kept them up as well.
They call him The King for a reason.
LeBron James has been great on the road throughout his NBA career
LeBron James has, of course, been one of the greatest NBA players of all time, so it has never mattered where he’s playing on any particular night; he typically puts on a show no matter what.
Believe it or not, James has actually put up slightly bigger numbers on the road than at home in his career.
He averages 26.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game at home contests, while dropping 27.6 points and 7.5 rebounds on the road. He does record slightly fewer assists on the road (7.2 compared to 7.6), and the home rims seem to give him an advantage, as he shoots 51.3% at home, compared to 49.6% on the road. But James has proven that he will dominate your team anytime, anywhere.
So, if you just so happen to be a LeBron James hater, it might not be wise to let him know it. Your hate just gives him extra motivation, and he’ll use it to dominate your favorite squad.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference