Is LeBron James the Most-Trolled Sports Person?

Lakers game
The Lakers compete at the Staples Center, their home stadium in Los Angeles / Photo by Ramiro Pianarosa on Unsplash

Social media has been a haven for some people to share some good news and enjoy moments. However, the freedom that comes with social media has created the perfect ground for trolls to spew hate on stars like LeBron James from the NBA.

A survey conducted between June 2020 to June 2021 analyzed hundreds of thousands of tweets directed at athletes in different sports such as football, basketball, ice hockey, soccer and tennis.

The survey found out that 122,568 abusive tweets were directed to LeBron James, making him the most-trolled athlete globally. The second position was taken by Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United player, who has 32,328 abusive tweets. The same report found out that 28,151 abusive tweets were directed to football quarterback Tom Brady who came in 3rd most-trolled athlete. We take a look at some of the instances that LeBron has been trolled.

Criticism over President Trump’s tweet

LeBron was on the president’s supporters case after he called Mr Trump a “bum” in 2017. This came after Mr Trump withdrew Stephen Curry’s invitation to the White House and LeBron was not happy with the decision and expressed his disappointment through a tweet. Even though some replies on his tweet “supported” him, there were also those that thought that he had gone too far.

LeBron in an interview with Don Lemon said that he had noted that President Trump ‘kind of used sport to divide citizens’. He went on to say that he would never sit across from him.

Ma’Khia Bryant case in Columbus, Ohio

LeBron was at the mercy of social media users in April 2021 after he tweeted about the killing of Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio. However, he later deleted the tweet. LeBron had tweeted the photo of the Columbus officer who was at the scene of the shooting with the caption “You’re next. #accountability.” The tweet came just 30 minutes before the verdict of George Floyd killing, a case that had brought uproar globally. LeBron would later explain why he deleted the tweet saying that it was ‘breeding’ more hate.

It was later established through a body camera on the officer that Ma’Khia Bryant was holding a knife and charged at a girl who fell down. The officer opened fire when Ma’Khia Bryant tried to lunge at a second person and fired four shots at Ma’Khia. The 16-old girl slumped to the ground from the impact of the shots and the officers summoned medics. The girl was pronounced dead when she was taken to the hospital for further examination.

President Trump was one of the people who issued a statement on LeBron’s tweet claiming that it was ‘racist’.

Does ‘hate’ influence his performance?

Even though trolls are busy ‘hating’ LeBron on Twitter, they can never take away the achievements he has in his NBA career. His stats can say it all as you will find him among the highly-rated players. LeBron has four NBA MVP awards under his belt in a span of 18 NBA seasons. The ‘king’ has also won 4 NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals.

In a recent interview, LeBron stated that he would love to finish his career with the Lakers. Betting odds have always stayed high for him and the team, Lebron will be in the Lakers until 2022-2023 when he will have completed 20 years in the NBA. He has so far been the most active player in the NBA league after playing 1,310 games. 

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