By about 2009, anti-LeBron James opinions had formed their own cottage industry. Sure LeBron was talented, doubters would say, but he never came through in the clutch, his teams didn’t win, he passed when he should’ve shot, he wasn’t as good as Kobe, he whined too much, etc.
And as LeBron’s career progressed and his teams kept losing in the playoffs, a particularly fiery take began to crop up: LeBron James, the best player of his generation, would never win an NBA championship.
Now that LeBron has three titles, it seems ridiculous that anyone could have ever doubted him, but loads of people did. And we’ve got the tweets to prove it.
There were a few instances of LeBron-will-never-win takes after his Cavaliers teams lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2010 (chief LeBron hater Skip Bayless stopped just short of that on ESPN that spring), but by the next year, after LeBron had signed with the Heat and lost to the Mavericks in the NBA Finals, doubters were out in full force.
Lebron just wanted to remind u that ur the reason u lost this year and u will never win a ring!!! #uwishuweremelebron
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) June 26, 2011
@afm1374 LeBron never wins a ring. Mark it down
— Chris Reimer (@ChrisReimer) June 13, 2011
lebron showed tonight he doesnt have a killer instinct. he'll never win a title
— Dan Worthington (@danWorthington) June 13, 2011
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Darren Rovell felt that LeBron’s marketing potential had been tarnished forever.
In the 2012 playoffs, when the Heat fell behind the Celtics 3-2 in the conference finals it looked like deja vu. The anti-LeBron crowd couldn’t even wait one more game to bring out the pitchforks.
lebron might as well retire or something. cause he not getting no ring
— Tevin Mack (@Tmack_0) June 6, 2012
Miami is bout to go blown out in Boston on thursday. Doesn't matter tho. OKC are winning it all. Durant will get a ring before lebron.
— Russ (@russdiemon) June 6, 2012
Lebron wont see a ring for maybe anotha 2 years
— J.R. Donato . WSS? (@RealJRDonato) June 6, 2012
Heat are never getting a ring as long as Spolestra and lebron are there
— Russ (@russdiemon) June 6, 2012
Lebron will never get a ring. He should take the last shot but he is scared!
— The Almighty Xilla (@BlogXilla) June 6, 2012
Heat will never win a title with lebron and wade on the same team!!!
— Dan Sileo (@DanSileoShow) June 6, 2012
LeBron will never win a title.
— Mike Monteiro (@monteiro) June 6, 2012
Lebron kids gonna grew up to the only Hall of Famer never to win a Championship
— Tyler R. Tynes (@TylerRickyTynes) June 6, 2012
At this point, the NBA had a new prince, the Thunder’s Kevin Durant, and the comparisons with LeBron were inevitable… and not favorable toward The King.
Durant will get a ring before Lebron! lol
— Champ (@ChampChong) June 7, 2012
@THE_ELPRESADOR Durant is a beast, he'll get a ring before LeBron
— Phil Bozeman (@phillybo) June 7, 2012
@DavidClowney Durant gonna get a ring before Lebron!!!
— Derek Hagan (@dhagan80) June 7, 2012
I called that!!!! RT @CeAzY180: KD gettin a ring before LeBron #yikess
— Lance Fresh (@LanceFresh) June 7, 2012
We are witnessing the NBA's next generations powerhouse, OKC THUNDER! LeBron may never get a ring, hahahaha! #heathater
— Ike Reese (@Ike58Reese) June 7, 2012
LeBron and the Heat won Game 6 over the Celtics thanks to one of the best performances of LeBron’s career—a 45-point, 15-rebound masterpiece—then won the series in Game 7.
Thanks to several more virtuoso LeBron performances, the Heat beat Durant’s Thunder in the NBA Finals to earn The King his first ring. LeBron won another title with Miami the following year, then returned to Cleveland to deliver the Cavs a title in 2016. Kevin Durant is still waiting.