LeBron James haters have been on cloud nine since the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. It was the first time LeBron failed to get out of the first round during his Hall of Fame career.
Despite being one of the best players in NBA history, LeBron has many haters, and it perplexes one of the brightest young stars in the NBA.
LeBron James is now 14-1 in the first round
The Lakers took a 2-1 lead over the Suns after winning Games 2 and 3. It looked like they were on their way to advancing to the second round.
However, Anthony Davis suffered a groin injury in Game 4, and it was all downhill from there for the Lakers. They lost Games 4, 5, and 6 and won’t get the chance to defend their 2020 championship.
LeBron, who wasn’t 100% against the Suns due to his lingering ankle injury, averaged 23.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 8.0 assists versus Devin Booker and Co. He’s now 14-1 in the first round of the playoffs. This year’s NBA Finals will mark the first time in 10 years that neither LeBron nor Golden State Warriors superstar point guard Stephen Curry will be competing for the Larry O’Brien trophy.
After the Lakers lost Game 6 to the Suns, LeBron haters had a field day. They were thrilled to see the four-time MVP lose in the first round for the first time and not get the chance to compete for his fifth ring. Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, who is represented by the same agency as the King, is confused why there are so many LeBron haters.
Anthony Edwards doesn’t understand why people hate LeBron James so much
Edwards, who has a chance to win the 2020-21 Rookie of the Year Award, took to social media to vent about LeBron’s haters. The Timberwolves star said he’s never seen so many people be happy to see another man fail.
“I’ve never seen so many people be so happy to see an athlete fail more than LeBron,” Edwards wrote on his Instagram story. “His whole career he’s been hated on constantly and slandered to no end to the point where when he retires nobody would have appreciated his greatness. I’m glad I will be one who did.”
LeBron’s popularity among NBA fans decreased after he signed with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010 via the ESPN special The Decision. Even though he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and guided them to the 2016 championship in historic fashion, the four-time Finals MVP still hasn’t recaptured the universal love he had when he entered the league in 2003.
Edwards has the right attitude when it comes to LeBron. We should appreciate the 17-time All-Star’s greatness and not take him for granted since we will likely never see a player like him again. The four-time champion is the only player in NBA history to rank top 10 all-time in points and assists and has career averages of 27.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists with the Cavs, Heat, and Lakers.
Will LBJ win another title?
LeBron is two rings and two Finals MVPs away from tying Michael Jordan, his childhood hero. However, there’s a chance LBJ may not win another championship since he’s getting older, the Western Conference is rugged, and his partner in crime (Davis) is too injury prone.
Now, if the Lakers can acquire a third superstar this offseason, that changes the equation. Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard are two players who would thrive playing alongside LeBron and Davis. However, the Lakers don’t have the assets to acquire either player.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how LeBron’s career finishes. There have been rumors he won’t retire until he gets to play at least one season in the NBA with his son, Bronny James. LeBron signed a two-year, $85 million extension with the Lakers and told reporters he’s excited about it lining up with when Bronny graduates from high school since the NBA and NBPA could allow high school players to enter the league directly by 2023.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.