Despite the fact that Golden State has assembled the best starting roster in history, the NBA still remains LeBron James’ league. Never before has a player hosted a “Decision” on live television. James ended up “taking his talents” to South Beach and basically alienating every Cleveland Cavalier fan in the process. Whatever you think of him, LeBron is still the best player in the NBA, even at the age of 33. He is also perhaps the best all-around basketball player in history in terms of sheer talent, will and physicality — sorry MJ. As we’ve shown before, “King” James isn’t perfect, so we compiled ANOTHER Top 10 embarrassing moments from LeBron’s time in the spotlight.
10. Accidental Adjustment
Moments before the start of the fourth game of the 2015 NBA Finals, a series that might sound familiar as LeBron’s Cavaliers faced the Golden State Warriors yet again, James was caught on camera adjusting his shorts and perhaps taking the term “tip off” a bit too seriously. The King accidentally showed the nation his “Prince” and while the wardrobe malfunction only lasted a split second, people all over the world posted images of James’ junk all across the Internet. The funny thing is that “legitimate” (we’re using that term loosely) publications picked up the story and posted the grainy, still images of James’ family jewels. The Cavs were actually up two games to one before Game 4, but the tip slip must’ve been a bad omen. They were blown out 103 to 82 in that game and went on to lose the series. According to people in the know, James was “embarrassed” by the gaffe but was confident that it would “go away” soon. Unfortunately, as James would later find out, the Internet is forever.
9. Dunked on and bumped by Jayson Tatum
The “Dunk Heard Around the World” is the most recent edition to this list. It occurred during a 2018 playoff game opposing the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics. On May 27th, in what was the seventh game of a best-of-seven series rookie Jayson Taytum shocked the basketball world. Tatum, who is only 20 years old, took a pass outside the three-point line and drove to the lane. In an ill-fated attempt to block Tatum, LeBron moved into the paint and redefined the meaning of getting “posterized.” We all saw the result. The monster dunk happened with only 6:39 left in the fourth quarter. It brought the Celtics to within two points, with the Cavs leading 71 to 69 in crunch time. But you know what they say: don’t wake the sleeping giant. While that play was something that LeBron haters will likely latch onto, it didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Though Tatum’s dunk will live forever on the Internet, it perhaps motivated the best player in the world to take over the game. Lebron dropped 35 of the Cavaliers 87 points. He also put up 15 boards and nine assists. The King ended up one assist short of a triple-double. And the Cavs went on a 16 to 10 run and on to a fourth-straight NBA Finals appearance. Nice try though Jayson.
8. Throws tantrum during game 1 of the Finals
There are some plays that live forever in the pantheons of basketball history, some good and some bad. The good ones are like Christian Laettner’s legendary last second shot at Duke or Michael Jordan’s final dagger as a Chicago Bull that sealed his sixth NBA championship ring. Unfortunately for LeBron and especially his teammate, shooting guard JR Smith, they have ended up in the “bad” category. In the first game of the 2018 NBA Finals J.R. — or Psychotic Blade as he is known in China — committed such a boneheaded play that people are still struggling to even explain the logic behind it. In the series opener, the Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors were tied 107 to 107, with about five seconds left. J.R. rebounded a missed free throw from teammate George Hill and for some inexplicable reason decided to dribble the ball out towards half-court and run out the clock. There were a few different explanations for this horrible gaffe. The Cavs head coach said Smith thought the Cavs were ahead. Smith himself admitted he thought the team would call a time-out. Regardless, that play, which brought the teams to overtime, ended up in Golden State’s favor. Critics say it doomed the entire series. Bad tongues opined that LeBron had a meltdown. The King was so upset he admitted he punched a whiteboard in the Cavs locker room before overtime and suffered a bone contusion on his dominant hand. Despite LeBron’s heroic 51 points, the Cavs ran out of gas and never stood a chance in overtime — or really the rest of the series. But it’s LeBron’s reaction that might hurt his legacy over the long run as some say he handled it like a spoiled brat, not the fearless leader he has shown to be time and time again.
7. High School Daze
LeBron James has been anointed as the next Michael Jordan since his days at St. Vincent- St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. In 2002, while still just a junior, he made the cover of Sports Illustrated with the title of “The Chosen One.” And he’s lived up to that moniker. He’s been able to accomplish so many feats, becoming everything people expected him to be and perhaps more. However, even back then though things weren’t perfect for the future King of Cleveland. The youngster was stripped of his eligibility during his senior season at St. Vincent – St. Mary’s because he violated the rules. LeBron accepted a gift of two sports jerseys valued at about $900 from a store in Cleveland. Because of that, the Ohio High School Athletic Association ruled him ineligible for the final five regular-season games and the playoffs. His team was also forced to forfeit a win that they’d had over Akron Buchtel, ruining their perfect record. Considering all the money and free advertising that school received thanks to LeBron, it’s insane that he wasn’t allowed to profit from his then-budding fame considering how fleeting a professional sports career can be. This still counts as an embarrassing moment though.
6. Loses HORSE game to David Kalb
Even if you don’t follow the NBA or sports in general there’s still a very good chance that you’ve heard of LeBron James. On the other end of the spectrum you have David Kalb. Who, you ask? That’s right, David Kalb, a warehouse worker who played James in a game of H-O-R-S-E during a promotional stop at Venice Beach, California. The game came not long after James had returned from the Beijing Olympics, where he had won gold. Considering that and the fact that he was smack dab in the middle of his prime, there’s no chance that some random warehouse worker could beat the best basketball player in the world at anything, let alone H-O-R-S-E, a game predicated on making tough shots. Well, it turns out that Kalb was a hustler. He had a ton of trick shots up his sleeve. It was amazing to see the best player on the planet bested by a “regular” person. It gave LeBron haters ammunition to add to their trolling.
5. Wears suit shorts to the 2018 finals
There are arguably really important and borderline terrifying things going on in the world, but there’s nothing more terrifying, complicated and confusing then what LeBron James wore to Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals. Though James wore an expensive suit, people were quick to mock his suit pants, which weren’t pants at all, but rather suit shorts. While LeBron isn’t the first NBA or NFL player to rock suit shorts, everything he does is news. So it was hard not to laugh when you first saw his wardrobe game. The suit shorts were designed by Thom Browne, according to USA Today, because there were thousands of articles about these shorts from “credible” (or at least formerly credible, apparently) sources. Browne designed suits for most of the Cavs and they liked to wear similar suits before games as a sign of unity, which means that LeBron forced them to dress like him because well, he’s LeBron. Ty Lue, the head coach of the Cavaliers, said of the disaster:
“I mean, it’s pretty cool. Like at first, when we lost our first game, we did it, and I knew it would be a story. But overall, it just stands for unity, like as one, going on the floor, having the same jersey and uniform on. I think it’s pretty cool.” – I guess.
4. Joins bad Lakers team/No one wants to join him in LA
Our first “Top 10 Embarrassing Moments in LeBron James’ Career” list obviously had to cover the whole “Decision” fiasco Lebron and ESPN created back when he announced his plans to “take his talents to South Beach” and leave Cleveland aka “The Mistake by the Lake” for the Miami Heat. James is hyper aware of his image (despite those suit shorts) and clearly didn’t want to make the same mistake this off-season. He eventually chose to sign with the Lakers. The four-year deal will pay him over $150 million dollars. The Lakers have the most famous fans of any team in the NBA and for the most part it appears that celebrities are excited to be able to watch James play at their home stadium over 40 times a season. Unfortunately, for James and the Lakers, that enthusiasm isn’t universal. There are actually a few rational reasons as to why people don’t or didn’t want LeBron on the Lakers, and despite some of the more emotional reactions (see entry number two), some of these anti-LeBron people have laid out their line of reasoning pretty well, at least online. The first group of people don’t believe that James is a good fit for what the Lakers do on the court. They say he is a “ball dominant” player and because of the Lakers’ roster is so young that could have a negative impact on the growth of players like Lonzo Ball. The second group don’t want him to join because they think that James would “threaten the legacies of some of the greatest players in Los Angeles Lakers history.” The third line of reasoning is that LeBron will basically take over the team and add a bunch of players that he wants to play with and considering his age, once he leaves the team will end up in complete disarray like the Cavs were after he left the first time. Not to mention what became of the Miami Heat after he left — although some would argue that it was more complex than just James leaving. So, while a majority of people in L.A. are psyched that the King is there, some are wary of what might happen to the team.
3. Getting swept in the 2018 finals
Before the 2018 NBA Finals it was said by those in the know that the outcome of that series against the Golden State Warriors would determine whether or not LeBron would end up staying in Cleveland. The Cavs are like this generation’s Utah Jazz, a talented team that hit a wall called Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and ironically, the current coach of the Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr. The Warriors are clearly the Bulls in this analogy and because the Cavs were absolutely decimated in the Finals this year, getting trounced in four games, it was clear that LeBron was going to make some drastic changes either to his (then) current team, or on whatever team he was going to join. While the Cavs had faced the Warriors in the Finals EVERY year from 2015 through this past season, it appears the Cavs had lost their ability to compete or overcome the sheer onslaught of talent that the Warriors put on the basketball court. Sure, the Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit during the 2016 Finals and won a championship, but this year that the fight was gone for the Cavs. When Kyrie Irving bounced for Boston, he left a gaping hole in that lineup. And so LeBron decided to just make a clean break and attempt a fresh start in the Western Conference with the most iconic team in the league.
2. LeBron Mural in LA gets defaced
As we learned earlier on this list, not everyone in Los Angeles is excited about the prospect of James joining their favorite team. The situation that perhaps best explains that comes from a painted mural by graffiti artist Fernando Valdez that stated that James was the “King of L.A.” The mural had a realistic likeness of James in a Lakers jersey and was relatively large as it took up the entire back wall of a restaurant that is getting a ton of free press. A Twitter account titled “Laker Fanbase” offered people $300 to destroy the mural. And apparently someone took them up on it. They used gold spray paint to write on the mural. They wrote “No King”, “We don’t want you”, “LeFraud” and “3-6” (which was an allusion to James’ record in the NBA Finals). Valdez painted over that graffiti and attempted to compromise with the anti-LeBron people by removing the “of” so the mural said just “King” and “L.A”. However, as was caught on a surveillance camera, another “fan” decided to deface the rest of the mural over the weekend, splashing paint all over James’ gigantic face. It prompted the restaurant and Valdez erase the ruined mural with white paint — a sad testament to the state of “fandom” these days.
1. Pizza with the King?
Social Media is amazing for a lot of reasons. For one, fans feel connected to their favorite celebrities more than ever. Influencers like James have the ability to amass large groups of people at the drop of a hat and that’s the situation that occurred late last week. LeBron came out of his impromptu Twitter hiatus and teased that he wanted to visit a pizza place in Culver City in Los Angeles county. Blaze Pizza were running a special where people could get free pizza during a three-hour window last week. During that time, James alluded that he would make a stop and pick up some slices. Of course that meant multiple Blaze locations were completely overwhelmed with eager fans who wanted free pizza and hang out with LeBron. Turns out, Lebron namedropped Blaze pizza and lured hundreds of people to multiple locations because — surprise surprise — he’s one of the original investors in the chain. He once even appeared in a Blaze Pizza commercial serving food and talking with customers who seemed unaware they were in the presence of greatness. So while he’s done a great job of branding and advertising for his restaurants, it very well could have backfired over the long term. In any case, it sure backfired at the time. Some people weren’t super happy that he used them that way. Though he didn’t promise anything, once people realized what he was doing and why he did it, it didn’t sit well with them. Perhaps that’s where the paint came into play.