A newly released study found that Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is the most hated player in the National Basketball Association.
Sports Insider, an online betting platform, put together a geotagged map and found that James scored lowest in favorability in 24 of the 50 states. One of the specific phrases used for the research was “I hate Lebron.” The study analyzed 70,000 tweets, hashtags, and phrases.
Trailing James was Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, who recently claimed without evidence that Boston Celtics fans are racist. The results of the study are not shocking. James has continually received backlash for his controversial political opinions, having leaned hard into the Black Lives Matter agenda and often refused to condemn the Chinese Communist Party.
James made headlines in April when he targeted a police officer who saved the life of a black teenager by shooting another, tweeting, “YOU’RE NEXT.” James then deleted his tweet and claimed, “I’m so damn tired of seeing Black people killed by police. I took the tweet down because it’s being used to create more hate — This isn’t about one officer. it’s about the entire system and they always use our words to create more racism. I am so desperate for more ACCOUNTABILITY.”
In response to the Lakers star misunderstanding the context of the Ma’Khia Bryant police shooting situation, and once more pedaling in systemic racism rhetoric, former President Donald Trump called him out. “His RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning,” Trump said. “He may be a great basketball player, but he is doing nothing to bring our Country together!”
Amid Hong Kongers protesting for freedom in 2019, James criticized an NBA executive for voicing opposition to China. He went so far as to trample on the First Amendment, telling reporters, “I don’t want to get into a … feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke. So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually, so just be careful what we tweet, what we say, what we do. Even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, there can be a lot of negative that comes from that.”