When you’re at the top, you dare to be shot at. And Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has been at the pinnacle of the basketball world since his school days.
Despite being one of the most talented athletes in the world, the star does divide opinion and there are plenty of people out there who just do not like him.
One of the best ways of getting at a celebrity nowadays is through social media by use of memes. They will probably never get to see it, but one’s chances are so much better when he or she goes that route, especially if the thing goes viral.
Over the years, Lebron has been the victim of many a savage meme. Back in the day, most of them focused on the fact that he hadn’t won a ring, but since getting over that hurdle – three times at that – the meme makers have come up with a few other things to chastise him about.
LeBron may well leave the game as the greatest player to ever grace the basketball court – although it’s quite the task – but that won’t save him from being the subject of some of the meanest jokes and memes.
Below are 15 of the most savage ones we’ve come across.
15 That Hairline
LeBron’s receding hairline became quite the thing to talk about a few years back, and you can well imagine how much of a field day King James’ haters had with what was considered a fun fact.
Hair loss is a touchy subject for a lot of men, men who have fallen victim of course, and the star forward wasn’t exempt when adulthood really kicked in.
In this particular meme, LeBron is made to look like he’s arguing with an official over a backcourt call and questioning him over it. The supposed witty referee then points out that while the player’s position was not suspect and he was in compliance with the rules of the game, his hairline was still in the other half when the whistle was blown.
14 Over The Hump
Remember when LeBron was famous for choking in the fourth quarter? Well three rings later, and with a possible fourth on the way, that’s all changed. But he caused quite the stir after seemingly forgetting how to play basketball during the final quarters of the 2011 NBA finals whilst in Miami.
The Heat went on to win back-to-back championships, mainly due to LeBron stepping up and playing through all four quarters. But according to the above meme, the improvement performances were only down to the fact that Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra had fooled his star man into believing that there were actually five quarters in a basketball game.
There’s actually no such thing, as far as quarters and basketball go, but the meme is pretty funny anyway.
13 More Hairline Madness
Another hairline joke. But LeBron wasn’t the only victim intended – or at least it seems that way.
New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose has been one of the most injured stars in the NBA in recent times, and he’s spent a considerable amount of time on the sidelines due to getting hurt.
After a few minor injuries, inclusive of wrist sprains, back issues, groin sprains and a big toe issue, things suddenly went downhill for the superstar. He tore his acl during the playoffs in 2012, and less than two years later, Rose would hurt his other knee, this time tearing his meniscus.
Both of those injuries obviously required surgery, so the player missed a whole lot of games. In 2015, he damaged the same meniscus again, and upon his return, he suffered an orbital bone fracture (eye socket).
It was thought that he would probably never return, yet Rose has bounced back well - more than we can say for LeBron’s hairline.
12 The Numbers Game
When King James left Cleveland for Miami in 2010, it didn’t go well with a lot of people.
It irked folks even more when he made his famous “Not one, not two not three…” speech alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The speech has since been twisted, remixed and rejigged to make fun of LeBron.
And of course we found a good meme referencing same. This one pointed out that the star took nine years to win his first ring, which isn’t so bad when considering icons like Charles Barkley, John Stockton and Karl Malone, who never won a single title.
Yet LeBron was the NBA’s golden child and was expected to win a ring during his first few years in the league. But after getting selected as the first pick in the 2003 draft, he won his first ring in 2012.
11 So Not Fair
When James went back to Cleveland three years ago, it was supposed to be the triumphant return of the King. After a wealth of playoff, finals and title-winning experience were deposited in his locker, finally bringing a ring to Cleveland seemed a foregone conclusion – it just had to be automatic.
The Cavaliers had no trouble getting to the finals that season, breezing their way through all opposition. That is until Steph Curry and co. turned up.
The Golden State Warriors did quite the number on their Ohio counterparts – 4-2 to be exact. They kept Cleveland to just two wins in the series, ultimately winning basketball’s most coveted prize on the Cavs’ floor… before LeBron.
Certainly a stain on the big guy’s career, but he got his revenge the following year.
The Miami Heat’s 2014 finals campaign was seemingly sabotaged by the air conditioning at the Spurs’ AT&T Center. An electrical system power failure left the building way too hot for LeBron, who had to pull out of the first quarter of the match after his left leg cramped up.
He could only manage three minutes of the last quarter, but that obviously wasn’t enough for Miami, with the Spurs outscoring them 36-17 to claim a 110-95 win.
"It's frustration and anger, but at the same time, it's something that you try to prevent, you try to control," James said following the match. "I mean, I got all the fluids I need to get, I do my normal routine I've done and it was inevitable for me tonight, throughout the conditions, you know, out there on the floor.
“I lost all the fluids that I was putting in in the last couple of days out there on the floor. It sucks not being out there for your team, especially at this point in the season."
So yeah, hence the above meme.
9 Oh The Infidelity
Some more banter from crampgate. But this time involving LeBron’s ex-teammates Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers.
Mario Chalmers was the little brother to the big three during their era, and was often on the end of a harsh talking-to, courtesy of his superstar colleagues. Bosh was probably giving the point guard a good chastening in the above picture, but Bosh being Bosh always makes things look weird.
He does look like he was about to smack one right on his teammates’ lips, but we know that such never happened. It did make a good meme, though, with some smart Alec twisting things around to mock the cramped-up James.
Chalmers, however, didn’t look too keen on accepting neither kiss nor reprimand. Not like Bosh put a ring on it that year anyway.
8 How I Met Your Mother
Very, very savage that. Very, very savage.
The above meme makes fun of the rumors surrounding James’ mother and former teammate Delonte West. The pair were said to have been intimate with each other during Lebron’s first stint in Cleveland, something West staunchly denied.
“Not at all,” he shot back after being asked about the supposed relationship by a reporter. “I come from an era where you don’t say nothing bad about someone’s parent, so not at all.”
A few years later, though, he said this: “I don’t want my son going to school and people making fun of him for something his daddy did, “Oh didn’t yo daddy have sex with LeBron James mama?’ Man, I don’t want to deal with all that."
Almost sounds like a confirmation does it not?
Anyhoo, no more of an explanation needed.
7 All in One
This one pretty much encompasses everything. It covers his hairline, which apparently crept farther up his dome, then takes a shot at his much-maligned move to the Miami Heat.
The Delonte thing comes up again – he just had to be named after a cardinal point – and lastly, the fact that the Heat were on top of the Eastern conference at the time got a bit of praise.
The meme describes LeBron as an all-round player, or at least that’s the intention, but in the least complimentary way possible. The most stinging bit is obviously the West jibe, but maybe now that he’s returned home, the maker has probably taken a softer view.
Although, LeBron's still got some good years left in him so there's still time for a bit more. One thing's for sure; the east part seems to be true as there are very few contenders who could challenge the Cavs in the near future.
The above meme is as mean as it gets.
Nothing gets to LeBron like losing an NBA finals series, not hairline jokes, not Delonte West jokes and not cramp jokes.
The player has made it to seven NBA finals in his career, and is now 3-4, winning two rings in Miami and one in Cleveland. He’s currently gunning for an eighth finals appearance and a fourth title, a feat which would take him much closer to some of the game’s all-time greats.
Losing out to the Warriors in the 2015 finals must have stung more than losing to Dallas and San Antonio, as it was in Cleveland. And the meme puts his 2-4 Finals record (at the time) up with some of sports greatest two and four combinations.
5 That Face
The King isn’t all about seriousness and does have his moments when it comes to clowning around.
Back in 2013, former Celtics and Heat guard Ray Allen was having an interview done with Jason Jackson after Miami beat the Orlando Magic to record a 27th straight win. Lebron crept up to videobomb the sharpshooter, making one of the weirdest faces you’ll ever see.
The maker of the above meme points out that Michael Jordan would have never made such a face, also referring to James as a ‘Mark ass busta.”
According to Urban Dictionary, the best possible source on such a phrase, a Mark ass busta is: “An individual who is always "borrowing" and gets crap from his friends. Also selling possessions just to eat dinner or play putt-putt.”
So by definition, Lebron is certainly not that. Plus Jordan has a crying meme now, which dates back to his Hall of Fame speech in 2009 and became popular two years or so ago. So go figure.
4 Police Were Called to the Scene...
Another meme surrounding the 2015 NBA finals between Cleveland and Golden State.
LeBon is pictured with hand on head looking like the victim of some crime while trying to recall exactly what happened to him while he was trying to get home from work.
The light-skinned bit is an obvious reference to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, who ran riot during the series, averaging a total of 41.8 points against the Cavs between themselves. Andre Iguadala, who averaged 16.3 points, was named Finals MVP, having completed some big plays. But the Splash brothers, as they have come to be known, did a real number on Lebron.
The backcourt pair have formed one of the best one-two punch duos in the league, and would probably love to have another go at Lebron in this year’s finals.
Admit it, you’d love that too.
3 Aging Don't Play
The phrase ‘Taking my talents to South Beach’ is still very much alive, seven years after LeBron left Cleveland to join the Miami Heat.
The announcement was made during a 75-minute special on ESPN called The Decision, much to the disappointment of Cavs fans.
“This fall I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat,” the King said. “I feel like it's going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win for multiple years, and not only just to win in the regular season or just to win five games in a row or three games in a row, I want to be able to win championships. And I feel like I can compete down there.”
Of course someone came up with a hairline joke to suit the quote. And it’s likely a Cleveland fan.
2 Cramps? Really?
To this day, many are of the opinion that James should have fought through the cramp that night to help his team. Many others have stood up in defence of the player, including former Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas.
"There is no athlete on the planet who could've played through those cramps," Thomas said after the game. "Michael Jordan absolutely couldn't have played through those cramps. I absolutely couldn't have played through those cramps. As an athlete, there's nothing you could do."
Thomas is no stranger to playing banged up, so he should know a thing or two, yet the above meme argues that wrestler Kurt Angle won an Olympic medal with a broken neck.
Oh it’s true. It’s true.
The former WWE star came down pretty hard on his head during the semi-finals of national trials; and that resulted in two herniated disks, two cracked vertebrae and four pulled neck muscles.
Angle went against the wishes of every doctor who saw him, ultimately winning the medal.
"There were a lot of things that were going on. No doctor would clear me -- that was the most important thing, getting cleared," he recalled in an interview. "Back then I was young and dumb, 26 years old, I didn't care about my health. I just wanted to get back into the game."
1 Crying Greats
Remember that crying Michael Jordan pic we spoke of earlier? Well it’s shown up just about everywhere. And after Cleveland pipped the Warriors to the championship last year, Lebron coined one of his own.
Sure he’d won back-to-back titles with the Miami Heat, yet the last one must have felt 1000 times sweeter as he brought Cleveland their first bit of silverware in 52 years. Surely any fans who were still bitter from him leaving would have to completely forgive him now.
While celebrating with his teammates, the star’s emotions spilled over, giving birth to the LeBron crying meme. The pic above shows Jordan holding a picture of LeBron’s crying face, while crying himself, fearing the loss of his spot on the meme pedestal.
Fair to say, though, Jordan’s still gets more traction.