Lebron James turns off his social media accounts before the playoffs begin each year, largely because it’s a toxic place for celebrities.
Public backlash after the late-game mistakes by his teammates in Game 1 of the finals proves James’ point, as the criticism and memes have dominated the Twitterverse and other social media.
While acknowledging the merits of social media in rapidly sharing news and events, James said at a Saturday news conference that it also often results in a barrage of negativity and rash reactions.
“If you’re a celebrity, then you realize it’s actually really bad for you,” James said.
James, who has played in some 1,400 NBA games, called Thursday’s loss one his “toughest” ever when, after some questionable calls by referees, point guard George Hill then missed a free throw with less than five seconds left (which would have given the Cavs the lead).
Cavs guard J.R. Smith then gave the team new life, grabbing an offensive rebound, but after evading a seven-foot block-shocking defender in front of him, failed to put up a shot before time expired. Smith may not have realized the game was still tied, and now says that he’s not even quite sure anymore what transpired in those few, dramatic moments.
The game went to overtime, the Cavs lost, and the opposing coach, Steve Kerr, admitted the defending champion Warriors “got lucky.”
James said the rapid-fire criticism athletes like Smith receive is largely coming from ignorant critics whose primary objective is to disparage.
“Like, if you really pay attention, there’s people out there that really try to tear you down,” said James.”
“You have to realize that, one, you don’t know who they are. Two, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Three, they’ve never stepped in your shoes or been in the light to understand what it means to have to perform or whatever the case may be.”
And if this rampant criticism can’t be ignored, James recommends that his teammates — or perhaps anyone, really — ditch social media.
“If you’re a part of it and it bothers you, then you probably should just delete it off your phone,” said James.
When James entered the league in 2003, he noted that it took a while for public criticism, or that from media, to reach a player. Today, it hits right away.
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