Lebron James is one of the most unfairly hated athletes in history.
I firmly believe this. Wilt was hated in his day for playing selfishly, Magic was called “Tragic Johnson” for his choking the 1984 Finals, Jordan was also criticized for being a ball hog in his pre championship days and even the now much beloved Kobe was once hated for his ball hogging, rape case trial and failing to win without Shaq.
But nothing compares to Lebron. No matter what social media platform I use – reddit, twitter, facebook, youtube, even Quora, his haters are everywhere and they are the majority.
I’m not a Bron fan – my favorite players are Magic, West and Barry in that order – but I end usually defending Lebron because the hate against him is just irrational and ridiculous. One guy even told me Lebron “ruined the game I love” because he erroneously blamed Lebron for superteams and flopping now that’s just ridiculous.
I’m going to go over all the so called ‘hater’ arguments and debunk all of them as I usually do. Because every hater argument is pretty illogical and irrational and easy to debunk because they usually either don’t watch full basketball games or lack knowledge of NBA history or both.
- “I hate Lebron because of his bronsexual fanbase who think he’s the GOAT”
First off, I hate the term “Bronsexual” like how childish do you have to be to use a term like that? Secondly, what’s wrong with being a fan of one of the greatest players of all time? How’s it different than the legion of Jordan fans and Kobe fans? Is it because “Bronsexuals” proclaim Lebron as the GOAT? and hype him up? Nothing wrong with that, it’s their opinion they are allowed to say that and it’s also no different than Jordan and Kobe fans. Especially Kobe fans because Kobe has almost no legit argument to be the GOAT at all since Jordan you know, plays the same position and is superior in every way, and yet Kobe’s fanbase keeps hyping him up with the 81 point game, all the buzzwords like ‘cold blooded assassin’ ‘mamba mentality’ etc and the worship has only increased after his tragic death. So what’s wrong with Lebron’s fanbase saying the same thing?
It’s a dumb double standard that exists for Lebron and his fanbase. If Jordan/Kobe brag about themselves or act arrogant in any way, then his fanbase eats it up. If Lebron does that, then he gets criticized by everyone. If Jordan/Kobe’s fanbase hypes them up or calls them the GOAT its fine, but if Lebron’s fanbase does it, then it’s not ok and deserve to be hated. It’s a ridiculous double standard.
Oh and BTW here’s footage of Kobe calling himself the GOAT
.. and absolutely no one cared when Kobe said it. When Lebron said it in the heat of the moment after beating a 73 win team after coming back from 3–1 down to win his city their first championship in 50 years, people lost their minds.
- “I hate Lebron because he’s not loyal and he jumps teams and recruits other stars to play with him”
First of all, how is Lebron not loyal? Let’s actually go over what happened. Lebron signed a rookie contract with Cleveland. He renewed that contract with Cleveland despite the Cavs and Dan Gilbert giving him almost nothing to work with for 7 seasons. He took a Cavs team with Larry Hughes, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic and Eric Snow to the Finals as a 22 year old. He never asked to be traded at any time despite this very weak supporting cast. And he never got a great coach either. He put up with this for 7 seasons before he was eligible for free agency. That 7 year run with Cleveland is already good enough to get his number retired with the team. Remember – Kobe couldn’t even put up with his bad team for even 3 seasons and was constantly asking to be traded in 2007–2008 until the Lakers gave him Pau Gasol.
Then he went to the Miami Heat and teamed up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The majority of Lebron hate has come after 2010 because of “The Decision”. This basically ruined Lebron’s good will with the wider fanbase. But let’s take this into perspective; superteams are not a new thing. They’ve been around since the 1960s. Wilt/West/Baylor Lakers was a superteam. Showtime Lakers and Bird Celtics were a superteam. Moses Malone/Dr J 76ers was a superteam. These teams were so stacked they had hall of famers like Bill Walton, Bob McAdoo and Bobby Jones coming off the bench. Then you got superteams like the 1997 Rockets, 2004 Lakers, 2008 Celtics – all before Lebron’s Big 3 Heat.
“But they built their teams through the draft” – Nope not the 1969 Lakers or 1983 76ers or 2008 Celtics those superteams were formed through trades. So what’s the difference between a superteam formed through trades versus a superteam formed through free agency? The only difference is free agency is of the player’s will and through trades is of the GM’s will. Either way the front office has to sign these players all together in the end. So what I get from this is fans don’t want players to win rings through their own decisions, but through forced decision making. Basically they want the players to suffer to win. Which is such a weird thing to me. In what other sport would the fans prefer the players to suffer than to make their own decisions?
Also, Lebron can only ‘recruit’ other players if they want to play with him and presumably take a paycut. It’s not easy to build a team with good chemistry and Lebron’s only been able to do this so many times because everyone knows he’s a great teammate and he elevates everyone around him. That’s why Lebron is able to do this so easily. And superteams don’t guarantee a win for the same reason that all the stars have to play unselfishly and get along well. Lebron is unique in this aspect that regardless of the coach, system or even chemistry (Kyrie and Love were not a good fit chemistry wise for Lebron), he can still get a championship – which he has done for over 40 players. That’s why superteams like the 2004 Lakers, 2013 Lakers and 2020 Clippers all failed is because they didn’t have the team chemistry and Lebron’s unique floor raising abilities. We have yet to see how well the 2021 Nets do – they have as much firepower as the 2017 Warriors on paper but they lack the Warrior’s cohesiveness and defensive abilities.
And finally of course, Lebron came back to Cleveland to lead them to four straight Finals and the championship – their first ever in franchise history. Lebron is Cleveland’s all time leader in every category, led them to every Finals in their history and their only championship. The man has done more than enough to be loyal to his franchise.
- “I hate Lebron because he flops and is a crybaby”
Everyone flops in the modern NBA from James Harden to Luka Doncic. It’s to take advantage of the rules to get extra points. Every great player utilizes their era specific advantages. Lebron is no different. When you have a chance to get free points, you do it. Of course if Lebron was transported back to the 80s and 90s then he wouldn’t do it, cause the defensive rules were tougher back then. Some fans actually think Lebron – a player with the body of Karl Malone and the speed of Magic Johnson – actually would not survive back then because he’s ‘soft’. This is ridiculous. Lebron is obviously taking advantage of modern day rules, has nothing to do with him being soft. You really think that if you walk up to Lebron on the street and poke him, he’s gonna start crying? get real. And I hate that ‘crybaby meme’ and ‘butterfly meme’ that haters always post on non-related posts. It’s stupid, childish, immature, doesn’t mean anything, and yet always gets the most upvotes. Not just that but they use terms like “Bronsexual” ‘Lebum’ ‘LeChoke’ ‘LeFrozen’ etc it just reinforces the perception that these haters are immature 10 year olds bragging to each other about how funny they are. They are idiots. No better than Trump supporters in my opinion, who also use name calling and memeable gifs to make their arguments instead of any rational evidence for their arguments.
And the rest of the hater arguments are all either false or irrational.
“Lebron is not clutch and is too afraid to take the last shot”
Then watch these videos:
The problem is whenever Lebron has a good game, his haters are always silent, and whenever he passes the ball (i.e makes the right basketball play) and his teammate misses (i.e Danny Green in the 2020 Finals) then social media is flooded with his haters talking about Lebron choked, is trash, has no ‘killer instinct’ etc. Since his haters outnumber his fans, his haters always end up winning the popular opinion unfortunately.
“Lebron isn’t a good defender”
Also false. Take a look at these videos:
Backpicks GOAT: #3 LeBron James – as well as this great article by Ben Taylor, also known as Thinking Basketball who is a basketball author, popular Youtuber, statistician, sports journalist and watched every NBA game from the Hardwood classics to present day. He presents all the evidence – footage + analytics – that back up Lebron being a great defender.
The thing is even though Lebron is a great defender, he is almost never mentioned in the ‘greatest defenders’ discussion and if you mention him then you will be ostracized by people online. But people will put Kobe in the ‘elite defenders’ convo despite the fact that Kobe was always in the bottom half of DAPM in the league – especially after 2003 – and opposing guards would routinely get their career games on him like Gilbert Arenas, Allan Houston, Ray Allen, Allen Iverson, Steve Francis and even Jeremy Lin.
Same thing with Lebron’s scoring – despite averaging 27 PPG – good for top 6 all time – and being top 3 in total points in NBA history – he is also never mentioned in the ‘greatest scorers’ discussion either. However guys like Kobe, Iverson, Harden etc are inevitably all mentioned. It’s baffling to me. How can you be top 3 in total points and top 6 in PPG and not be mentioned in the greatest scorers convo?
“Lebron dropped the ball in 2009 to meet Kobe in the Finals”
First of all, Lebron’s 2009 team was not that good. Yes I know they won 66 games, but regular season win has little co-relation with the playoffs – the Derrick Rose Bulls, Giannis Bucks and the 2015 Atlanta Hawks should tell you that.
And Lebron did as well as anyone could in 2009.
Lebron averaged a ridiculous 38/8/8 in that series against the Magic. What else was he supposed to do? Including a buzzer beater! (video below)
So no Lebron did not drop the ball to meet Kobe.
I think on the other hand rather – it’s Kobe that dropped the ball to meet Lebron in the 2011 Finals.
^ Jason Terry averaged an astounding 75% TS% and 65% FG% against Kobe in the 2011 Western Conference semi-finals. Kobe was 1st team All-NBA and 1st team All-Def so I don’t want to hear any excuses for him not being in his prime.
So Lebron averaging 38/8/8 against the 2009 Magic and Kobe getting swept by the 2011 Mavs averaging 22/3/3 against them – who’s the one that dropped the ball here?
“Lebron got outplayed by Jason Terry and JJ Barea in the 2011 Finals”
This is also not true.
Lebron averaged 18/7/7 on 48% shooting in the Finals and Jason Terry averaged 18/3/3 on 49% shooting in the Finals. Terry did not outplay Lebron, this is clearly a false claim that the haters love to make. and JJ Barea averaging 9/2/3 on 38% shooting outplayed Lebron? yeah right.
And I even made a reddit post about this Debunking the myth: Lebron did not get outplayed by Jason Terry or JJ Barea in 2011 Finals
Which got downvoted immediately by haters. All the comments said that the statistics were wrong or deceiving and comments like ‘you didn’t watch the game’ etc flowed in. Somebody show me the footage where Terry and Barea so called ‘destroyed’ Lebron in the Finals. Also the haters act like Jason Terry was some scrub when he was a deadly offensive dynamo in the playoffs who was easily the Mavs second best scorer after Dirk – he scored 18k points in his career. But the haters have to add that he ‘came off the bench’ in order to make it look more embarrassing for Lebron.
Again, Lebron did not get outplayed that Finals. Any player averaging 18/7/7 on 49% shooting in the Finals is having a pretty decent game. It’s just the standards for Lebron is so ridiculously high for him. Rip Hamilton outscored Kobe in the 2004 Finals. Andrew Toney outscored Magic Johnson in the 1983 Finals. Larry Bird had 8 points in the 1981 Finals Game 3. Kobe had 8 points in the 2000 Finals Game 5. None of these guys get criticized eternally for one below average series like Lebron did.
And at any one time any ‘lesser’ player can get hot and outplay a superstar. It happens.
^ Here’s Muggsy Bogues defending Jordan really well – freaking Muggsey Bogues.
^ here’s Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley just destroying Kobe’s Lakers in 2003.
^ Here’s Shawn Kemp outplaying Jordan in the 1996 Finals
It happens. Sometimes ‘lesser players’ do above average and superstars do below average. But point is, the superstars will perform above average most of the time and that’s why they are superstars. Hating on Lebron just for one Finals performance where Jason Terry averaged the same PPG as him out of 10 different Finals is just ridiculous.
I hope I addressed all the ‘hater’ arguments but to me the hate for Lebron is unwarranted and none of the haters ever respond with any evidence. No footage, no stats, just memes and gifs and stuff like that which exposes how irrational their hate is.