As the most accomplished player since Michael Jordan, it is only natural that LeBron James would be an incredibly polarizing figure. The accomplishments that James has garnered are rivaled by none in his sport today. With the amount of success that James has had, it is natural for there be to be some jaded and bitter folks out there, as well as some who hold Bron in the highest regard. People who have had their chances at greatness snatched away by LeBron would obviously hold less than friendly feelings toward The King. On the other hand, people who have supported him and been with him through some of his journeys would have great admiration for such a leader.
James has been an NBA superstar for over thirteen years and he has also been a fierce businessman off the court during those same thirteen years. In the business world, there is no doubt a business mentality. Along with that mentality comes the necessity to be a little cut-throat. As in basketball, in the world of high stakes business, it is easy to make and lose friends.
With all these elements in play, it is not easy to narrow this list down to just 8 who love James and 8 who hate him, but we have done the work for you. Enjoy.
16 Love: James Jones
James Jones and LeBron James became teammates in 2010 when LeBron arrived in Miami. The two hit if off beautifully. James looked up to Jones and his level of professionalism as well as his tireless work ethic. As the seasons passed, the two became even closer, spending off-seasons training together and often times spending entire plane rides talking with one and other.
15 Hate: Dan Gilbert
Dan Gilbert, the famous Cleveland Cavalier owner, is an incredible inclusion on this list, namely because he found a way to be on both sides of the fence. In 2010, when LeBron decided to infamously take his talents to South Beach, Gilbert wrote one of the most scathing nasty letters about a player that I have ever seen. In the letter, he called LeBron a coward and a traitor, in addition to promising Cleveland a championship long before James would ever win one with Miami.
14 Love: Dan Gilbert
As we mentioned, Dan Gilbert would be making an appearance on both sides of this polarizing list. Gilbert was a furious, immature cry-baby when LeBron headed south in 2010. However, it was Gilbert who issued somewhat of an apology to LeBron in an attempt to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones.
13 Hate: Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley has never been one to shy away from headline making statements. When asked if he believes LeBron James could ever be a top five player of all-time, which many argue he already is, Barkley refused to allow James a chance at a top five ranking. Sir Charles is somewhat of a traditionalist in the sense that he has stated he will never change his top five players of all-time. His top five are all great players, but to say it can never change is just silly.
12 Love: Matthew Dellavedova
Coming into the 2013 season, Matthew Dellavedova was a twenty-three year old, underrated player just looking to find a way onto a roster. He busted his tail everyday at practice until he was given a contract and became part of the Cavaliers bench unit. During the next two seasons, Delly's career would be a wild one.
11 Hate: David Blatt
Coach David Blatt was put in an incredibly tough spot after he was hired by the Cavs. Blatt was hired for the job just weeks before LeBron decided to rejoin his hometown squad. When Blatt was hired, he was hired to take over a young team, help groom them for the future and hopefully, someday, lead them to championship contention. Instead, LeBron James joined the picture and the entire organization became a media frenzy.
10 Love: Tyronn Lue
Tyronn Lue was one of the leading candidates to land the Cavaliers job before Blatt was given the gig in 2014. The Cavs did something extremely unusual when they signed Lue to be Blatt's assistant that same year. This simple move of hiring Lue, who was a leading candidate to be in Blatt's position, somewhat undermined Blatt's authority. Regardless, that is what happened.
9 Hate: Steph Curry
The NBA has belonged to Steph Curry for almost two entire years. He's become the new face of the league, as he was the future and the present. It became clear that LebBon was not quite ready to leave the throne he had built when he started questioning the legitimacy of Steph's back-to-back MVP awards. James' comments came on the heels of what would be the most impressive NBA Finals comeback of all time.
8 Love: Brian Windhorst
Brian Windhorst is currently one of the most famous and well respected basketball writers in the business. He began as a kid from Akron, Ohio who went to Kent State University before following his old high school's basketball program. His old high school basketball program just so happened to be St. Vincent St. Mary's, the same St Vincent St. Mary's that LeBron James attended. Windhorst is seven years older than LeBron, but the two had an immediate friendship when Brian began covering James in high school.
7 Hate: Skip Bayless
For well over a decade, Skip Bayless has been trying to defame and discredit what James has been able to accomplish. It has been the lifeblood of his career. Some would argue that Skip perhaps owes his career to James, but it is undeniable that over the years, Skip has made himself look quite foolish when he makes statements regarding LeBron. In 2014, Bayless tweeted, "Johnny Football [Johnny Manziel] will one day be bigger in Cleveland than his buddy LeBron ever was."
6 Love: Warren Buffett
In 2015, Buffett was ranked as the third wealthiest person in the world. He is an 86-year-old investor and one of LeBron's best friends and financial advisers. James and Buffett have been friends for over a decade now. The two often go on golfing trips, business events, and even go to sporting events together. Buffett even frequently attends Cavs games.
5 Hate: Pat Riley
The mastermind behind two of the greatest championship runs in history is the same guy who ran many greats out of town. Pat Riley was the coach of the Magic Johnson-led "Showtime" Lakers of the 80s and he was also the President of the Miami Heat during their "Big 3" run.
4 Love: Barack and Michelle Obama
The Obamas have both worked with LeBron James on several occasions on programs to help youth in America and especially in Ohio. James, of course, has always given back to his hometown of Akron, but with the help of Michelle, James has broadened his reach and his ability to improve lives. The two joined forces when they combined Michelle's "Better Make Room" initiative with James' "I Promise" movement. James and President Obama have also worked together. Not in the same capacity as James and the First Lady, but Mr. Obama has said that James gave him some pointers to use during his next open gym session.
3 Hate: Michael Jordan
Perhaps the greatest to ever do it. Michael Jordan has never been too keen on telling folks he thinks LeBron is a great player. Many players of Jordan's era have spoken out on the subject including Charles Barkley, who believes Jordan will never be surpassed. Jordan's former teammate Scottie Pippen, however, has commented that LeBron may have the opportunity to catch the ghost of Michael.
2 Love: Every Person in Cleveland
The city of Cleveland was as miserable a sports town as there was in America. The city had not seen a title in 52 years and suffered as many heartbreaks as one city should ever see. When LeBron left the city in 2010, it appeared it had happened again. They were close to a championship and then the carpet was pulled out from under them. That is why, when James came back four years later, they were even more excited than before. It was like they woke up from a bad nightmare.
1 Hate: Donald Trump
LeBron is easily the most influential player in the NBA and probably the most influential athlete in all of North American sports. That is why, when James publicly came out in support of Hillary Clinton, he immediately made an enemy of Donald Trump.
James has long been somewhat of a political activist, especially among his peers. Recently Trump attempted to dismiss a decade plus old video of his saying some pretty ugly things by calling it locker room talk. James promptly countered Trumps claim saying, “What is locker room talk to me? It's not what that guy said. We don't disrespect women in no shape or fashion in our locker rooms. That never comes up."
James also said. "I've got a mother-in-law, my mom, a wife and a daughter and those conversations just don't go on in our locker room.”
With all the other dramas that surround Donald Trump, I am sure James will do his best to steer clear of much more political talk as the season gets into full swing.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!