There haven’t been many times throughout LeBron James‘ career where his season ended early. He’s typically one of the most important factors in the NBA playoffs. With the Los Angeles Lakers losing in the first round, LeBron’s offseason plans are likely to change.
It was recently revealed that he’ll be changing his jersey number from No. 23 to No. 6 so that his character in Space Jam: A New Legacy has the same number as him. While it is notable that he’s changing his number, it didn’t seem like a move that would draw controversy. However, Sirius XM host Justin Termine had a big issue with LeBron for putting the attention on himself and taking it away from the players currently in the playoffs.
The new Space Jam movie is coming out soon so the news of the change had to happen eventually. It’s possible it would’ve come out even if the Lakers were still in the playoffs. LeBron has many detractors around the league and they’ll find a reason to bash anything he does.
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LeBron Named Most Hated Player in the NBA
Despite his consistent excellence on the court, LeBron has become one of the most polarizing athletes in the country. That could be due to a number of factors, including politics, playing style and/or fatigue over his constant success. Regardless, there are a lot of people who want to see him fail.
According to a study done by Sports Insider, LeBron is the most hated NBA player in 24 different states. That’s more than any other player.
LeBron’s former teammate Kyrie Irving came in second with 18 states hating him. Sports Insider used Twitter data to conduct the study so it’s hard to know how accurate it is. That said, there’s no doubt that LeBron has a large section of haters throughout the country.
LeBron Has Plenty of Fuel Heading Into Next Season
With four championships and many records already under his belt, it’s likely not always very easy for LeBron to find the motivation to keep putting in the work. Watching all of his haters get jazzed up after his early playoff exit might be just what he needed. He already took to social media recently to state that he will have his vengeance next season.
A motivated LeBron is a dangerous LeBron. He’ll be 37 early next season but he was an MVP candidate at 36 before getting hurt. He’ll have time to get healthy this offseason and it’s easy to see him being a dominant force again. It’s far too early to count him out quite yet. Even if he’s no longer the best player in the world, he should still be one of the 10 best. If Anthony Davis can return to form, the Lakers should be good enough to compete for another title. The team could also bring on a third star. Regardless, Los Angeles and LeBron aren’t done yet and it would be unwise to count them out.