Is there a more polarizing athlete today than LeBron James? You can make a case for guys like Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Cristiano Ronaldo, but by and large, especially here in the Philippines, no athlete creates such a distinct divide between love and hate quite like the four-time NBA MVP.
The overwhelmingly emotional and oftentimes bitter reactions James has created between his fans and his non-fans, “haters” as they say these days, is apparent in everyone’s Facebook timeline. You really only need to scroll through yours to see how magnified it’s been since the start of the NBA Finals where LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers are currently trailing Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors, two games to three.
With LeBron though, things aren’t as black and white. It’s not just “LeBron Hater” and “Non-LeBron Hater.” In this Finals series, there are several sub-groups that are tuning in for different reasons.
You have those openly rooting for LeBron and/or the Cavs, and then there are Cavs loyalists who stuck with the team when they were winning more draft lotteries than actual games. On the other hand, you’ve got LeBron die-hards who will follow him wherever he goes, even if the King suits up for the Flint Tropics and co-stars with Jackie Moon from the movie Semipro. And let’s not forget the LeBron antagonists who just plainly hate the guy, scoffing at all his achievements and popping champagne at all his failures.
Which one are you? If you’re not explicitly with the Warriors, you might fall under one of these Cavs followers:
1) The Real Cavs Fan That Lived Through The Jordan Years And Has Stayed With The Team Through Better Or Worse
This shot still haunts them to this very day
These guys hate the new fans that arrived when LeBron came back. They can usually be heard saying, “We cried ourselves to sleep whenever Michael Jordan killed us, but now that we have arguably the greatest player since Jordan on our side, you’re going to hop on and join us?” They’re the most “ALL-IN” among all the people in this list.
2) The Real Cavs Fan That Lived Through The Jordan Years And Has Stayed With The Team Through Better Or Worse (But Still Hates LeBron For Abandoning Them)
Until LeBron wins it all for Cleveland, they’ll continue to hate him. Even when LeBron is putting up 40-10-10, they’ll find ways to credit things like “teamwork” and “dedication” when they win. With the Cavs in a grim situation against the Warriors, it looks as if these guys will live to hate another year.
3) The I’m-Only-A-Cavs-Fan-When-LeBron-Is-One
They’re the type that loses interest in the team when things aren’t going their way but miraculously find themselves openly rooting for the same team when they have the best player in the game. They probably can’t name three players other than Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao from the non-LeBron years.
4) The Ultimate LeBron Loyalist
You don’t need to be a fan of a specific team to appreciate greatness when you see it. If a player like LeBron James plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, these fans will openly root for the Cavs because they want LeBron to win and they want him to be successful. If he was with the Grizzlies, Spurs, Mavs or God forbid, the Celtics, then they’d root for those teams. Nothing wrong with that actually.
5) The Miami Heat Fan (That Still Loves LeBron)
“Hey, he gave us two championships, right? I’m happy with those. Let him fulfill his destiny as the prodigal son. We wish him all the best in pursuing a potential third trophy.”
6) The Miami Heat Fan (That’s Still Aching The Same Way That Cleveland Once Did)
Image via Ihatelebronjames.com
“Hey LeBron, aren’t you wishing that Bosh and Wade were still on your side? We hope Curry drops 70 on you tomorrow and that your dogs die of dysentery! And we wish him you all the best...in pursuing a potential fourth Finals loss.”
7) Dwyane Wade
“We were supposed to be brothers for life, dawg! You abandoned me!”
8) Those Who Still Regularly Use Their “LeChoke!” Signages (Or Burn His Jerseys)
Image via Ihatelebronjames.com
AKA: LeBron James’ haters. LeBron is close to being the first player to win the Finals MVP despite being on the losing side since Jerry West did it in 1969. That doesn’t matter to LeBron’s haters. To them, he will always be the guy who can’t shoot when it matters the most, and the guy who shrinks under the biggest moments. And it’s okay to hate; sports wouldn’t be as fun if there weren’t any protagonists and antagonists in the eyes of the people who watch it.
So hate away, if that’s what you choose to do. But if you’re under this category, do so while (hopefully) knowing that you don’t have to root for him to recognize that what LeBron’s doing right now is pretty incredible, too.
See you in Game 6 (tomorrow, June 17, 9 a.m., Manila time), NBA fans! It’s now or never for LeBron and the Cavs as the Warriors try to close them out—which is exactly what Type Number 8 is wishing for in this list!