How Do Lakers Fans Really Feel About LeBron James?

LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant
LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Joel Deering

LeBron James is a Laker. That still feels weird to say, or write in this case. LeBron James is a Laker. One would think every Lakers fan would be on top of the world after getting the best player in the NBA on their team, but so far it hasn’t always seemed to be the case with Lakers fans. A few different events has got me questioning how Lakers fans REALLY feel about LeBron James.

Let’s start with the LeBron mural going up on a wall in LA. The words “The King of LA” surrounded LeBron James on the wall. The mural itself first told me Lakers fans love having the king on their team, but it wasn’t long before the mural was vandalized. Words and phrases such as “We don’t want you,” No King,” “LeFraud,” and “3-6” covered the wall. Soon after the original vandalism, the artist painted over it and restored the mural, but it wasn’t long until the mural was once again vandalized. Since then the artist has removed the mural from the wall by painting over it completely. The continuous vandalism of the LeBron mural made me wonder, “Do Lakers fans really not want LeBron James”?

Now lets talk about this pizza party LeBron didn’t show up for. LeBron put on a pizza party at Blaze Pizza, giving away free pizza during a three hour window. LeBron hinted at attending the party in Culver City with one of his tweets, which then led to hundreds of fans waiting in line for pizza and LeBron. The amount of people who showed up to see LeBron James again got me thinking Lakers fans love having LeBron, but then he didn’t show up.

From the moment we found out LeBron James was signing with the Lakers, I’ve seen a lot of mixed feelings from Lakers fans. I read several comments on Bleacher Report’s Instagram post, including comments on a few different Facebook posts I saw. I thought everyone would love having LeBron, but that wasn’t the case. Several people loved the fact that they would now have the best player in the NBA, but I also saw several posts similar to a post of one of my good friends, who has been a huge Lakers fan her whole life. All my friend posted was the emoji face rolling its eyes. Did she seriously not want LeBron?

I’ve thought about why Lakers fans might not like having LeBron James, and I think what it may come down to is the Kobe vs LeBron debate. For years in the NBA there was a debate about who was better. Was it Kobe or LeBron? For Lakers fans the choice was easy, it was Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant has always been better than LeBron in the mind of Lakers fans, at least that’s how it seems to me. LeBron has always been a player easy to hate for Lakers fans, but now he’s on their team.

I get why Lakers fans might not like having LeBron James, but at the same time I don’t really get it. He’s the best player in the NBA and you don’t want him? So Lakers fans out there, I need you guys to tell me how a real Lakers fan feels about having LeBron. Is it a 50/50 split for Lakers fans? Half love him and the other half hate him? Or are the people like those vandalizing the LeBron mural the outliers and it’s more like a 90/10 split? How do Lakers fans really feel about LeBron?

Regardless of how you or any other Lakers fan feels about him now, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love him when he leads the Lakers to the playoffs and eventually to another championship. Yes, I believe he will win a championship in LA. It may not be this year, but I believe he will. You’ll certainly love him then.

5 thoughts on “How Do Lakers Fans Really Feel About LeBron James?

  1. I do not share your prophecy that LeBron will win an NBA title with the Lakers. The only way they get out of the Western Conference is if the Warriors have 3 of their starting 5 gone for the playoffs. Trust me. Lebron’s streak of getting to the NBA Finals ends next year.

    1. I don’t think he’ll make it to the Finals this year either, but what happens when the Warriors can’t pay Cousins, Green, and Thompson all the money they want? They might take less money to stay, but they might not. We’ll see what happens.

  2. I think I’d have to call it a 45/55 split. Seems like slightly more Lakers fans are disappointed to have LeBron on the Lakers, but their reasoning has very little to do with Kobe, and more to do with LeBron and his attitude.

    LeBron has a reputation of hijacking franchises away from their front offices, and the disappointment is in the Lakers franchise for (in their eyes) choosing to relinquish their powers to any one player, particularly one who calls himself “King”. They watched the team through the hard times, and view the signing as a desperate act of weakness. The once proud and storied franchise who had the wherewithal to trade away Shaquille O’Neal, suddenly becoming subservient to King James and his every whim.

    In reality, LeBron has really only hijacked the Cavs (And who could blame him?). After signing LeBron in 2010, Pat Riley and the Heat organization had the freedom to operate their franchise as they saw fit, because Pat Riley had a history of winning. Dwyane Wade and the Heat had also won a championship before LeBron’s arrival, in 2006. So, this theory about LeBron’s reputation appears to be unfounded. LeBron doesn’t go where he is needed (The exception being, again, Cleveland), he goes where he feels he will benefit most.

    I think these particular Lakers fans have been listening too much to other fans in choosing to forget their own team’s history. I personally believe that if any front office can handle LeBron James, it’s Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers.

    1. That’s some really good insight. Thanks for explaining. I hadn’t thought it about like that because I’m not a Lakers fan and don’t really understand this whole thing with LeBron, but what you said makes sense. I also agree that Magic Johnson is a great fit for handling LeBron James.

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