LeBron James is arguably the best basketball player in the world, but that doesn’t mean he’s well liked.
According to a study by Sports Insider, the 17-time All-Star is the most hated player in the NBA. The study used negative mentions of NBA players on Twitter in order to come up with the “most hated players in the NBA.” According to Mediate, over 70,000 tweets and hashtags were used in the study — including phrases such as “I hate LeBron” and “LeBron sucks” — along with other negative tweets, and James was found to be the most hated player in 24 states.
Most Hated NBA Player in Each State
(Via Sports Insider) pic.twitter.com/A8G5HkJCdG
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 8, 2021
Some of those states include Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Oregon. Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George rounded out the list.
The results of the study should not be a surprise — not only is James considered the face of the NBA, he’s also become a polarizing figure.
Not one to “stick to sports,” James has consistently injected himself into politics over the past several years, using his platform to advocate for social justice.
Most recently, James found himself in hot water after commenting on the Ma’Khia Bryant shooting in Columbus, Ohio. Just hours after Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd, Bryant was shot and killed by a police officer while reportedly attempting to stab another black woman during a heated altercation.
James — before waiting for the facts to emerge in the case — sent out a now-deleted tweet with a picture of the officer with “YOU’RE NEXT” as the caption. James was widely criticized for the tweet but has never apologized for doxxing the police officer.
Irving — the second most hated NBA player according to the study — also is not afraid to get involved in topics outside of sports. Recently, Irving inserted himself into the conversation surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I’m not going to lie to you guys, a lot of stuff is going on in this world, and basketball is just not the most important thing to me right now,” Irving told reporters. “There’s a lot of stuff going on overseas. All my people are still in bondage across the world, and there’s a lot of dehumanization going on.”
Irving also made waves in past weeks as he commented on race relations between fans and NBA players. Before his return to TD Garden in Boston — where he played for two years — Irving told reporters he hoped there wouldn’t be any “subtle racism” from the hostile crowd.
“I am just looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball; there’s no belligerence or racism going on — subtle racism,” Irving said. “People yelling sh** from the crowd, but even if it is, it’s part of the nature of the game and we’re just going to focus on what we can control.”
The survey did not track positive tweets in its study.