LeBron James Once Made Cleveland Fans Hate Him by Just Wearing a Hat

Cleveland sports fans owe a lot to LeBron James. In addition to giving them plenty of great memories during his two stints on the Cleveland Cavaliers, James gave the city its first professional sports championship in 52 years in 2016. However, fans were not too happy with him when he left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010 (cue the burning jerseys highlight reel). That was not the first time James made Cleveland fans mad, though. He once made them really mad by just wearing a hat that they didn’t like.

The Cleveland Indians were excellent in 2007

The 2007 Cleveland Indians were a pretty good team. They won the AL Central Division, winning 96 games. They had great hitters in Victor Martinez, who went .301 at the plate to go with 25 home runs and 114 RBIs, and Grady Sizemore, who had 24 home runs and 78 RBIs. Their pitching was also outstanding as they had two 19-game winners in CC Sabathia and Roberto Hernandez.

The Indians ultimately played the New York Yankees in the ALDS and took care of the Yankees pretty easily as they won the series 3-1. They then played the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and were really close to getting to the World Series. The Indians led 3-1 in the ALCS but ultimately lost to the Red Sox in seven games. 

That Indians team was pretty special; they just could not go all the way. 

LeBron James is a Yankees fan

Despite being born and raised in Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Indians were not LeBron James’ favorite team. James is a well-documented New York Yankees fan. He still supports the Indians but has always been a Yankees fan. 

This is what LeBron James said during the Indians’ run to the World Series in 2016. 

“I’m a supporter,’’ James said, according to the New York Post. “I’m a supporter of winners. As a kid growing up, I needed inspiration to get out of the situation I was in. I loved the Bulls, Cowboys, and loved the Yankees. Those are winning franchises. I liked them because they gave me hope of being a winner. That’s part of the reason I loved those teams, but I definitely support what the Indians are doing right now.’’

LeBron James

So, what does someone do when they are a famous athlete from Cleveland, but the Indians are playing their favorite team in the playoffs? Well, what James decided to do did not make Cleveland sports fans too happy. 

Cleveland fans were angry after James wore a Yankees hat

LeBron James has had an up and down relationship with Cleveland fans. He once made them really mad by just wearing a hat they didn't like.
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers high fives fans following a game against the Phoenix Suns in 2017. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Indians defeated the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS in 2007. James was in attendance too, just months after leading the Cavaliers to the team’s first ever NBA Finals appearance. However, he was there, in Cleveland, with a Yankees hat on. Despite the Indians getting the big win, James’ hat was all that Cleveland fans could talk about the next day, according to ESPN.

“The guy is the face of Cleveland sports and he’s not even rooting for a team that’s 100 feet from the building he plays in,” said Indians fan Adam Burke, according to ESPN. “We dominate every aspect of the game, but LeBron’s dominating the airwaves. Maybe he wants it that way.”

Adam Burke, Indians fan

People were mad all around town. In fact, a sign at a gas station even read, “LeBron James. King of Nothing. Fan of Yankees. Get Out of Town,” according to ESPN. Of course, not everyone was mad, but a lot of fans were very annoyed. Luckily for them, the Indians ultimately won that series. 

Yes, Cleveland fans will always be indebted to LeBron James. Their relationship with him has been up and down, though. The 2007 ALDS matchup between the Indians and Yankees was ultimately one of those times that it got a little complicated.