NBA / Aug 11, 2010 / 9:00 am

The Empire Strikes Back: LeBron calls out his haters on Twitter

from Twitter.com/KingJames

If there’s one thing Twitter has done for the world of sports and sports media, it has taken down some of the walls between athletes and the public.

Back in the days when an athlete’s primary communication with fans came through the filter of an interviewer, that’s exactly how it was: filtered. But in the era of Twitter and viral media outlets like YouTube and UStream, athletes are willing to say things in their own comfort zone that they probably wouldn’t say with somebody else’s tape recorder and unknown intentions in front of them.

Case in point: LeBron James‘ Twitter post last night.

“Don’t think for one min that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!”

Assuming this was actually from LeBron — don’t yet rule out the old celebrity move of claiming your Twitter account was hacked if one of your posts gets an unexpectedly negative response — this went against his M.O.

For LeBron, who has been a public figure since he was about 15 and seemingly media-trained years before that, it was a jarring break from his usual diplomacy. The same guy who watched Cleveland fans burn his jersey on July 8 and didn’t break from his measured tone and “let them down easy” responses, on August 10 snapped at the legions of people who have bashed him with words in the media, with smart-ass tee shirts online, and pretty much anywhere else you’ll find basketball fans.

And of course, by directly addressing his haters, LeBron only created more. Maybe he doesn’t care. Maybe he does. But the shots LeBron acknowledged last night won’t stop until he’s got an NBA championship — and a Finals MVP, just to quell the notion that D-Wade is better than him — in his possession.

All summer I’ve been accused of “dick-riding” LeBron because I defended “The Decision,” supported his move to Miami, shot down the ridiculous notion that the two-time reigning MVP has somehow become a sidekick/role player to D-Wade, and even argued the Cavs organization needs to suck it up and retire his #23 someday.

In reality, I think I’ve simply been able to realize LeBron is a human being and not a basketball card or a movie character.

So much of the criticism levied at LeBron comes from people who only looked at the basketball part of his free agency; who forgot that this is a man deciding where and with whom he is going to live and work for the next half-decade of his life, not just a fantasy owner deciding which roster looks the best. Others wanted LeBron to stay in the role of solo hero, and lost respect for him when LeBron went against typecasting for the ideal sports movie ending. They wanted LeBron to be Jimmy Chitwood in Hoosiers, but he transferred to the antagonist big-city high school instead.

With this latest Twitter development, I find myself defending LeBron again. Was it smart PR to write what he did? Not at all. But he nonetheless committed a wholly human act. How many of us will fret, stew and snap over one piece of criticism by an outsider? Imagine if the criticism was coming at you in waves of thousands. Would you take mental notes? Would you vow to exact payback? Would you use social media — the same thing you use to tell the world you just ate some Rice Krispies — to make your payback plans public? Of course. You’re only human. So is LeBron. And I’m not going to take a shot at him for that.

But he needs to hurry up and win that damn championship.

-Follow Austin on Twitter at @AustinBurton206
-Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag
-Become a fan of Dime on Facebook HERE

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  • Aussiedestroya

    First

  • Junio Rodrigues

    You’re an idiot. When I click on a dime page from my news page and don’t like the article, usually it’s yours.

  • Dagger

    Personally I love this. It’s good to see Lebron become a little more like Kobe. I can see him being even more motivated than normal next year and that would be something to watch.

  • Jah

    So…which players is LeBron referring to? The only player I remember having something to say is Kevin Durant.

  • http://www.designbydesmond.com My Favorite Superhero

    “In reality, I think I’ve simply been able to realize LeBron is a human being and not a basketball card or a movie character.”

    Again, another piece that starts our with a tone seeming to disagree with LBJ, but then ends up defending him….this is getting a little played…can’t the man do wrong and you just say it’s wrong?

  • -SEIZ-

    @ Jah soo true. So exactly how is he gonna get back at fans?? Not 1 current NBA player said anything about dude, not even a current nba coach.

  • SJ

    Too many haters. Most likely jealousy.

  • zcw

    ESPN said “The Decision” may have been a bad idea. Michael Jordan the GOAT said he never would have joined the players he wanted to beat. So under those circumstances when you defend everything Lebron does, the definition of that is called dick-riding.

  • Jah

    @ -SEIZ-

    In fact, the only person I remember saying anything is Dan Gilbert. He can expect a nice 50 pt., 20 reb., 15 ast. avg. from King James for the next few years…

    I’m sure someone else has said something and that I just can’t recall at the moment. Can anyone help fill in the blanks?

    “Other than Kevin Durant and Dan Gilbert, who else has had something to say about LeBron’s decision? Who else is on the Sh*t List?”

  • sh!tfaced

    The only way to get back is to win a championship(s). But until then, haters win.

  • Mike Mihalow

    Hey LBGay, take note, you’re a sellout.

  • S-SiN

    I’m so with KD on this one, not so much team Gilbert.. Austin is right about being human part tho..

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    I don’t know what’s worse… being an immature selfish dickhead, or defending an immature selfish dickhead.

    Amazing player. One of the biggest self-absorbed dickheads in pro sports.

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    Hey fellas, who’s “legacy” is more damaged….

    Lebron, even if he wins a chip.
    or
    Money Mayweather, if he retires undefeated but doesn’t fight Pacquiao.

  • JS

    Notable people that said something:

    Durant,
    MJ,
    Magic,
    Sir Charles,
    Oh yeah, even Anthony Tolliver (he gettin smashed on this year worse than Amare did last!),
    etc, the list goes on and on………

    Damn don’t anyone of you readers pay attention? How can you all forget all the people that had something to say, WOW!

  • KnicksFan84

    LeBust needs to come to grips that somebody is gonna put a season-ending injury on him at some point during the season. All this arrogance is gonna catchup to him. Imagine if he pulled this nonsense when Oakley was still playing.

  • K

    so now its “””controversial””” for a player to say hes taking mental notes of people criticizing him..

    what the hell is going on in the world

  • WinDelRoj

    the hate is unwarranted He wasnt going to win anything in Cleveland. I was always of the opinion that Lamar Odom was a “main guy” talent same for Pau Gasol, but I dont recall people freaking out calling them superfriends or taking away merit from Kobe’s championships. Now MJ had a good point, but he even said times had changed. Magic said some stuff but (Magic being one of the greatest players of all time) doesnt have much of a leg to stand on in this case since he was drafted into an incredible situation. Would you hate him so much if he went to your city? a lot of hypocrisy is what Im hearing.

  • Ian

    zcw
    jordan didnt have to because he had a super team around him and what better sidekick could he ask for(imo pip is the 4th best player of the 90s)??? besides he talks about magic and bird as the players he wanted to beat but didnt he really start winning after birds back died , magics team was on the downhill and the pistons were tired of wooping him. jordan might be the goat but he wouldnt last 7 years playin with mo williams as his best teammate. NOW if some dude like mitch richmond that died playin with scrubs comes out and says this then that means something.

  • SWAT

    its funny how all of yall dont like the dude now…tht is the exact reason tht i copped a bron heat jersey.

    @ zcw-so by using your definition arent you dickriding MJ? why cant somebody just be a fan anymore? If someone doesnt blindly follow wht the media says or your favorite former player says you gotta be a dickrider? yall dude kill me with this follow the leader shit.

    @ austin as usual a good article-yall dime boys have been catchin alot of hate as of lately and most of the time its by cats who think they can write better than you-but they are also the first dudes with their hands out trying to win the free swag yall give away. miss me with their contradictions

  • Ian

    windel
    you are right about magic if one dude needs to just the f up about this its him he wasnt even the best player on his own team for the first 5-6 seasons.

  • Ian

    swat
    good post

  • That’s What’s Up

    It would be tremendous if the Heat miss the playoffs.

    If they were in the West they possibly would.

  • Sporty-j

    As a Heat fan i agree, that in order for him to shut the haters up. He has to just go out there and win a dam ring finally but until than he needs to shut up. His P.R. has already taken a big hit with the way he has been conducting bussines lately and hes running with the wrong crew, because some stuff are just common sense and you dont need a professional adviser to tell you some of the things you have been doing lately has been rubbing a lot of people in the wrong way with all his antics and games and thats why hes becoming the laffing stock of the NBA. You dont take an AD out in Akron and just thank them and forget about Cleveland rather your from there or not because thats were a lot of your fans are from also and thats were you played ball for the past 7yrs and those people looked up to you as a GOD and there feelings are hurt. Man i hope DWade really shows this guy how to be a professional and that all that dancing and picture taking is very disrespectful to your oppenents because back in the day Charles Oakley would have closed lined his a$$. Show people you made the right decision by winning championships because 1 championship still means nothing with all the talent he has around him and all of this stuff will go away. We already know you are taking notes just like DWade and Bosh is taking notes but you never come public and say that just like Wade will never come public and say that. Lebron needs to be very careful down here in Miami to, because these groupies are going to be after him and i dont want to see him in the same Tiger Woods fiasco and see his baby moma take all his money and move back to Ohio which all of Cleveland and the media is waiting for…

  • easy yeezy

    “The only way to get back is to win a championship(s). But until then, haters win.”

    Note: I’m a Bulls fan.

    Come on now, who are we kidding? He’s been dragging a crappy team and city to the playoffs now for 5-6 years. He saw an opportunity to take a great city with great players to the next level and he took it. The only people who actually care about legacies are the people who dont have them, ie: espn’s talking heads and message board junkies. This dude is incredibly rich, powerful, has 2 MVPs already and has earned the right to do what he wants.

  • http://twitter.com/LakersNation @LakersNation

    Dear @KingJames, the Only Decision that Really Matters is which Ring Kobe Gonna Knock you Out With a la Ali over Liston -Butterfly BEE! BOOM – Just one of the many tweets from last night . . . .

  • control

    I don’t know why people would hate on LeBron for a tweet like this. It would be interesting to see what happens when he gets really angry and uses it as fire to burn his competition (like every other “great” does). LeBron is really turning into a douchebag type of guy (wearing sunglasses in a dark club? fuck off) but which one of the “greatest” players out there have NOT been dicks?

    Most people are going to hate on LeBron regardless of what he does. That is part of being a hater, which I can fully understand because I do it too. It would be funny if he turns into a “super villain” from being like the face of the NBA after so many years. Sort of like this shit is WWE (which isn’t that far off, with how the reffing is). I could totally see LeBron doing a “Mr. Perfect” type of intro http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ10Ffa99sg like this…

  • Congressman James

    You can’t just stick it to The Man!You got to have yourself a plan!

  • jay26th

    @Austin – Good post. I think some of your commentors stay up all night thinking of the best possible way to miss your point and just talk isht. They need to get a life.

  • George W Kush Sr

    Nothing wrong with what Lebron said, what’s wrong with saying your taking mental notes of negatives things said about you?

    Whether you agree or oppose Lebron in Miami you can’t say this was a controversial statement, all he did is show motivation. Oh NO, not motivation!! lmao

  • Ekstor

    I think it’s more fans and media commentators who have made negative comments… this implication of his feels similar to what Shaq smacked down Greg Ostertag for disrespect from Greg that never happened.

    That said… he’s paying most for a series of bad PR moves and then making it worse. At least Kobe saved all of his talking for the basketball court.

  • https://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Nothing wrong here. Dude just let out what was in. Most of us if not all usually have some hidden anger at times when we feel we are getting made fun of, cheap-shotted, called out, mocked, slandered, ridiculed and dissed.
    It’s the same way rookies hold grudges against teams that passed on them and vow (aloud or within) to make those teams pay.
    Same way Mike would always find motivation (sometimes by even making it up) against a team or player.
    All of them (Wade, Bosh, LeBron) will have some type of revenge, likely against every other team, that they will want to dish out at different points.
    Thing is, Miami is like a hard punch now. Many opponents (teams) know this punch will be coming, some will get knocked the F*** out, others will move but not throw nothing back and still eventually get hit. What team is going to be the one to dodge this punch and come correct with one of their own or even take the hit and still come out on top?

    It’s ashame that the teams that have revenge to exact on Lebron and Bosh, simply don’t have the power to get it done. However I do fear for Lebron’s saftey when he plays Cleveland. I am thinking when Paul Pierce got stabbed or worst. I am sure he will have security on deck though.

    I think this is a case where many cats should have let a sleeping dog lie. Lebron has no Delonte banging out his moms, no lack of sufficient support and no injuries (yet). Forget a mental note I wouldn’t be shocked if you found a tablet with a list of teams, coaches and even former player’s teams that he plans to crush.

    Best defense against Lebron and crew might be to hire Don Chaney (is he dead?) and tell him to bring some “Goons”.

  • SWAT

    @EKSTOR-saved all of his talking for the bball court? LMAO! was tht before or after kobe threw shaq under the bus?

  • https://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Ooops John Chaney lol he is the one with the “Goons” …again is he dead?

    Check out ol boy out here lol:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51-4sJTf7iQ

  • Nigel

    Oh now he wants to get at someone and play motivated. Now that he’s hiding behind Wade and Bosh.

  • datdood

    i hope this is real and he comes out and destroys everone in the league. lotta 50 point games… that would be pretty fun to watch.

  • the trugh

    what’s wrong with calling out your haters?

  • WinDelRoj

    for the record Charles Oakley would clothesline himself if he was taking it to the rack.

  • WinDelRoj

    @33 and Andrew Bynum, Lakers management…

    I like Kobe but sometimes you do have to add the perspective

  • LakeShow84

    Sounds like someone just started training for the season.. bout time he lit a fire under his own a$$.. a Durant Lebron shootout?? ill take that..

    @ AB

    Dont make it sound like its been just this summer bruh.. you guys “dick-ride” dude on EVERYTHING..

    You guys post the same Lebron highlight shit on the main page all the time even when there was a better play of the night,

    You guys dont really try to report on the negative aspects of what he does only unless someone on the board calls you guys out,

    You guys TRY to justify ANYTHING the man does thats negative by sayin the usual cop out of “hes just human”,

    I mean really i can go on.. and thats the sad part..

  • OBF

    Shaq referred to Lebron as “MS. Lebron” in his introduction to the celtics press conference yesterday.

  • Celts Fan

    I LOVE THIS! Instead of doing a dog and pony show for the media and pretending he’s sorry for making a decision he had every right to make – and one that everyone that hates on athletes for only caring about money should embrace – he’s playing right into the villain role. This is straight outta pro wrastlin’. What’s the first thing a guy does after he turns heel and attacks a good guy? Grab the mic and start talkin ish to the crowd. Embrace the badguy role, Bron. Hit Dwight Howard with a trash can, take a cheapshot at Joe Johnson, punch the ref if another team looks like they may win, steal Kobe’s ring. We’ll be laying up in the cut waiting and watching. See ya at Wrestlemania err the Playoffs

  • marparker

    He said Miss tuh Lebron

    People are a trip

  • Sporty-j

    Im just saying. Instead of talking and taking all these mental notes. How about go in the gym like Kobe and Jordan and work on your post game moves and developing a back to the basket game. F what all the haters say. Im glad hes with my team, but i doubt he works on his game especially being down here in Miami now and hanging with DWade. Go pick the brains of the greats like Kobe has done so you can get better. Go work on your free throws until you perfect them like Kobe and Jordan. Love the game and love to get better at the game with the obsessed passion that Kobe and Jordan has thats so sickening that we all cant understand, until they tell you to take a break and shut it down like Durant looks like he has. Do something thats going to take your game to the next level and i promise the haters will shut up because all they will have left to say is. DAM! I was a WITNESS to the most freakish athlete to ever play the game. If he had pressure in Cleveland to just win 1 championship. He hasnt seen nothing yet because he expected to win the next 6 championships now and help turn my Heat into the next great Dynasty of our era because the magnifieing glasses has just went up 10 notches for him compared to 1 notch in Cleveland. I hope hes ready because as of right now hes public enemy #1. I want for once to wonder why i havent heard any news about Lebron instead of knowing his every move or TWITT because he locked himself unto a gym until he came out a triple doulble monster of this generation which he could do if he would stop hanging out with what sounds like loser friends who will most likely get there a$$ whipped once they come to Miami and if he sets his mind to it. COULD YOU IMAGINE MICHEAL JORDAN IN THAT BODY???

  • K Dizzle

    @ Austin
    I hope Lebron gives you the interview you been “dick ridin” all summer to get. Yeah, I get it’s a business, but I don’t think I heard anybody actually say they “supported” that bullshit espn one hour special, but you keep your integrity. The next article I read from Austin Burton sayin he disagrees with anything Lebron James says or does will be the first.

    @SWAT – damn, dude, were you a Heat fan a couple years back? Now, you got a Bron heat jersey?

    Once again, Lakers, baby. Since 85. Hopin and prayin Rondo, Pierce, KG, Shaq, JO, Ray and the other Mean Greens don’t take it personal and crush the Heat beore the Finals….tho I totally expect it…

  • http://bt.davka.info/ SparkyJ23

    Is there anybody that honestly felt the way LeBron left the Cavs was the right way to go about things? Does that me a hater? come and get me Lebron….

  • Celts Fan

    @Sparky – that’s the key thing though. The decision he made was fine, “The Decision” was a joke and an hour-long dump on his hometown that was completely unnecessary. That’s what got a lotta people all riled up. Anyone saying, “He can’t go play w/ DWade. That’s not fair. It should be harder for him,” is looking at it as how they wanna watch Bron grow as a player. Y’all aint gotta spend the next 5 winters in Cleveland – a place that had a sign-and-trade for Bosh worked out which woulda kept Bron right there, but Bosh nixxed – playing w/ a subpar cuast cuz the city is awful. If even your best friends won’t come somewhere, ain’t no one going there. He honestly woulda come outta this contract as a 30 year old w/ bad knees and (probably) no title. I got no problem w/ him leaving to play w/ his good friends in an amazing destination city; I just think he did it like a dbag. Whatever though. We got a new sports villain out of it and he seems to be embracing it. I love it…

  • thrillah

    I agree with the part with this part:

    “…I’ve been accused of “dick-riding” LeBron…”
    -Austin Burton

    (replace “accused” with “the king”) might not make sense, but it makes me laugh :D

  • SWAT

    @k dizzle real talk-no im not a recent heat fan-i was whn tim hardaway played but the only team i am fully invested in is my houston rockets. But in saying tht, does tht mean i cant cop jerseys from diff teams or diff players? I have every KG jersey from the wolves to the celts, i hv a rip hamilton pistons, i hv a reggie miller, a d rose, a brandon jennings-just a bunch of diff jerseys from dudes tht i fox wit. im a basketball fan. so it gives me joy to see dudes hatin on him, which no one ever says how much money “the decision” generated for the charity, and i like rootin for the most hated. lol thts actually the main reason i copped it.

  • drew

    its not just the way he left that rubs people the wrong way.
    his arrogance, and the general opinion that him dwade and bosh colluded their way into trying to create a “superteam” is what puts the hate over the top.

    some of the criticism he’s getting now is unfair, but you have to take the good w/ the bad, esp considering how espn and other media outlets were all over his jock strap.

    im part of the boat where he colluded based on some of the evidence..
    -mike miller turned down the lake show offer early even though it was for the same amount of money (translation… since he’s lbj’s boy, he knew he was at least strongly considering joining wade and bosh)

  • zcw

    @SWAT
    if you bought his jersey, than your definitely dickriding more than someone who just quotes a player. I’m just reiterating what Jordan said. You’re wearing another man’s name on your back…

  • SWAT

    LMAO @zcw-so are the millions of other nba/nfl/baseball fans around the world who have purchased their favorite players jerseys! ur quote read like a child’s-“MJ said dont do it so thts it.” its ok to think for urself-fucktard.

  • Conoro

    This obsession you have with LeBron James is seriously disconcerting, Burton.

  • wifey

    the tweet’s irrelevant, but LeHYPE’s still a fag

  • LakeShow84

    LMAO @ 48

    And for the record i got

    3 Laker Jerseys (2 Kobes, 1 Gasol, still lookin for AB)

    2 Sheed Portland, Det jerseys

    1 Timmay Spurs

    1 Howard USA jersey (all the Mambas/Melo’s were gone)

    1 Jordan USA jersey

    and my old Magic Tmac jersey lol so i can feel SWAT.. shit im even tempted to pick up a DWade Jersey..

    Sad part is im 26 so i dont get to wear that shit as much as i would like..

  • Ian

    lakeshow
    u r a grown man dont wear that shit.

    zcw
    do you do anything that jordan doesnt like?

  • LakeShow84

    @ Ian

    Thats what im sayin lol i can only wear them here and there like on a hot summers day..

  • Crew Dizzy

    First off I enjoyed the post Austin and I want to tell dime to
    keep up the good work, I don’t know how I would get through day of work without reading your website. I think it’s crazy how a lot of people have attacked LeBron for his decision. Now I will concede that if I were a Cleveland fan it would have rubbed me the wrong way. But as a basketball fan I think the 1 hour special was brillant. I think the decision and the whole free agent frenzy has been the best thing that has happened to the NBA in years. I mean it’s mid august and we’re still debating the fall out from “The Decision.” I don’t ever remember basketbal being on the front page of every sports page in mid July like it was this summer, or Hall of famers putting their 2 cents in on topic like this like Barkley, magic, and MJ did. In a summer where the world cup should have been the most dominant sports topic, it was LBJ and most importantly the NBA  stealing the headlines. I know Maverick Carter and the rest of LBJS “handlers” get bad raps but at the end of the day the NBA stole the summer spot  light from baseball and the world
    cup and this is arguably going to be the most anticipated season  ever, primarily because of how he and his camp handled his free agency. Though David Stern and NBA might not want to admit it, I know stern is on record as saying he wasn’t a fan of the decison, but secretly I think they loved it. It gave the sport and one of it’s brightest stars a larger stage to advertise themselves. Hence the 1 hour NBA TV special titled “The Schedule.” The reality is because of “The Decision” more tickets will get sold…ratings will be higher…which is good for the NBA and it’s fans. Imagine the lakers and heat meet in the finals…I can’t picture a lockout after such a season. I know it’s a long post, kinda off topic, but I had to get that off my chest.

  • SWAT

    @lakeshow thts a good look fam. tht jordan USA is prolly a killer. and trust im 27-i kno how hard it is to be able to rock those, but here in Tx during the summer-any random trip to the grocery store, any pool party, any road trip over an hour, any NBA game where the team is playing, i wear them with pride. lol.

  • JD

    i still don’t get what he’s done wrong. I can hardly see the big decision special as a big deal.

    People who moans and complains need to go get a life.

  • Oppaman

    it’s funny how people keep bringing up the pippen argument to accuse jordan of having a super team. Pippen wasn’t that good when he first entered the league and improved because he was practicing against MJ everyday for years. Now, can you say the same about LBJ? All his teammates still sucks after he left.

  • Nyeme

    @Oppaman – Lebron’s teammates weren’t that bad. They were more than capable, especially in today’s NBA climate. And Jamison is just as good as Gasol.

    Pippen became great from practicing against MJ? So I guess Jordan help develop Pippen’s handle and court-vision…wasn’t he averaging 6rpg & 5apg in by 3rd year? I guess practicing against Jordan also gave Pippen his athleticism, his slashing ability and his take it to just under the dots and hit the bank shot move.

    How is Lebron talkin ish? This is like Batman running from Joker then callin up Justice League to have his back then pop ish like “Now what!!!”

  • kingralf

    “JD says:

    i still don’t get what he’s done wrong. I can hardly see the big decision special as a big deal.

    People who moans and complains need to go get a life.”

    I can´t find better words than these.

  • http://None Delonte West

    wow AUSTIN , I have never seen anyone go down on LeBUM’s shaft as ferociously as you do! Do you give him a gentle ball massage after he pops on your lips?