Five Reasons People Hate LeBron James

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LeBron James is a repeat NBA champion. He’s arguably the best pro basketball player in the game. By all accounts, he’s a good teammate, one who’s equally adept at scoring 30 points a game as he is at dishing off crisp passes to open teammates. This begs the question, Why do so many people hate him?

5 He’s Too Rich

There will be some fans who hate James simply because he makes so much money. This isn’t unique to James, of course. How many fans hate New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez for the same reason? Again, though, it’s hard to blame James for seeking as much money as possible. Don’t we all do the same throughout our careers?

4 He Abandoned Cleveland

James did great things for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He even took the team—which, outside of James, wasn’t exactly star-studded—to the brink of an NBA championship. But fans in Cleveland hate him. Why? Because he left for greener pastures. We naively expect our sports stars to commit to their cities and teams. James didn’t do this, which has earned the scorn of fans, and not just in Cleveland.

3 Lazy?

During his days in Cleveland, critics said that James spent more time on endorsements and living the good life than he did at honing his basketball skills. James’ talent came to him naturally, critics said. They wondered if James could be even better if he was willing to work harder. This criticism has largely faded; James has undoubtedly worked on his weaknesses since joining the NBA. The hatred of James, though, hasn’t dissipated.

2 Too Good?

Is James simply too good? That’s one theory behind the hatred directed at him. People often hate those who are the best at anything. Blame it on jealousy. It’s similar to the hatred often directed at the New York Yankees. Baseball fans across the country hate the Yankees because they win so often. Basketball fans hate him because he makes the stars on their teams look pedestrian so often.

1 ‘The Decision’

“The Decision”—the one-hour ESPN special in which James told the nation that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to take his talents to Miami—remains the source of much of the hatred directed at the basketball star. Critics say that James and ESPN toyed with the emotions of basketball fans in Cleveland and other cities during the drawn-out, and downright boring homage that “The Decision” turned out to be. In one hour, James destroyed much of the goodwill he’d created during his All-Star career. What would have been the right way to leave Cleveland and head to Miami? James’ critics say he should have simply announced his decision without the camera lights.

Dan Rafner has been writing professionally since 1992, with work published in "The Washington Post," "Chicago Tribune," "Phoenix Magazine" and several trade magazines. He is also the managing editor of "Midwest Real Estate News." He specializes in writing about mortgage lending, personal finance, business and real-estate topics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Illinois.

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