Not only is LeBron James one of the greatest athletes of all time, but he's also an extremely vocal one at that. Thus, it's not surprising that everything he does or says receives close scrutiny from the world.
While he has his fans, he also has his haters, who won't leave a single opportunity to take digs at King James. All you have to do is head over to his Twitter or Instagram account and you'll see a ton of negative comments under every post.
But LeBron James isn't one to sit back and take it all in. He's used social media as a vehicle to troll his haters from time to time. He hasn't even held back in some interviews.
So as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare themselves for their first scrimmage game against the Dallas Mavericks, let us have a look at five occasions when LeBron James hit back at his haters.
#5 "He won't do it in the West"
LeBron James has been a dominant player in the NBA ever since he made his debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. But for 15 years, he's only played for teams in the Eastern Conference, whether it be for the Cavs or the Miami Heat.
With the gulf in the competition between the Western Conference and the Western Conference growing in size in the meantime, his haters have had the opportunity to point out how LeBron has only been good because he plays in the East.
To quash those claims, LeBron James did make the jump to the West with the LA Lakers in 2018 but his naysayers had a field day that season with the Purple and Gold missing out on the playoffs. However, King James is very much back this season and in the race for league MVP. So this is what he had to say during a recent media call.
"As far as the MVP race I think I've shown what I'm capable of doing. Not only individually, but from a team perspective with us being No. 1 in the West. There was a lot of conversation about 'LeBron can do those things in the East but if he ever came to the West what can he do?' I heard all of that."
LeBron is averaging a career-high 10.6 assists this season to go with his 25.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game on nearly 50% shooting. He even went out and tweeted about the same.
It's safe to say that LeBron James has proved that he can do it in the West too, irrespective of whether he wins the MVP award or not.
Also read: Criteria for the 2019-20 NBA Awards revealed
#4 Blast from the past
LeBron James made history even when he was in high school. He was the reason why ESPN broadcasted their first high school game back in 2002 when LeBron's St. Vincent-St. Mary defeated Oak Hill 65-45.
It's understandable that not everyone bought into the LeBron hype back then and that's what the May 2003 edition of the Sporting News magazine is probably alluding to. But knowing LeBron James, he's hitting back at his earliest of doubters with the Instagram post from 2019 after having come so far as a player.
#3 LeBron James trolls haters ahead of the 2016 NBA Finals Game
Back in 2016, it was the second consecutive year that the Cleveland Cavaliers were facing the Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately for LeBron James and the Cavs, the result also felt like a possible repeat from the campaign prior to that with Steph Curry and co. rushing to a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
There was incessant trolling of LeBron James on social media, with haters claiming that he would never be able to overcome the Warriors. Unfortunately for them, the Cavs managed to force a Game 7 and LeBron was obviously at the heart of it all. He wanted to send his haters a message and he did.
So when he exited the press conference prior to the series decider, LeBron James decided to put on a hat with the Kermit drinking tea logo on it. If you're unaware, that caricature is popularly known as "none of my business" in the world of memes.
#2 Washed King?
The theme for LeBron James heading into Year 17 of his NBA career this off-season was that he was getting closer to his eventual decline. To take a dig at that, #WashedKing has become a regular feature in LeBron's posts on social media of late. He also made a real statement with this Instagram post after his vicious dunk on Nemanja Bjelica in the LA Lakers' game against Sacramento in November 2019:
The caption insinuates that LeBron could've gone harder on Bjelica if he wanted to, but the king had mercy! This was a massive statement from LeBron James implying that he wasn't as washed as people thought.
#1 LeBron James shuts down haters after 2016 NBA Championship win
When LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014 after a successful stint with the Miami Heat, most were of the opinion that it would still be difficult for him to win a ring with the Cavs. When they went on to lose the 2015 NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors in six games, that opinion started echoing louder.
Eventually though, LeBron James led Cleveland to the NBA Championship in 2016 with the Cavs becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals. And then, LeBron summed up his feelings with this post.
LeBron hasn't won a ring since, and the trolls continue to joke about his 3-6 NBA Finals record. Could we see him leading the LA Lakers to their first championship in 10 years to shut down the haters again? Only time will tell.
Published 24 Jul 2020, 01:57 IST