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No pro athlete in history has taken more grief on Twitter than LeBron James.
That’s the word from sports betting website Pickwise, which conducted a study on what it billed as “anti-social media.”
The results of that study revealed that James received 122,568 abusive messages from June 2020 to June 2021. That’s about 336 hate tweets a day.
“Pickswise says the data was collected from Twitter posts with words, phrases and hashtags with abusive terms directed at athletes,” wrote Chris Pugh of the Akron Beacon Journal, James’ hometown newspaper.
Fittingly, Thursday marks the 11-year anniversary of James’ free-agent decision to bolt for Miami after 8 seasons in Cleveland, a call he made on ESPN in something hailed as “The Decision Show.” That started a lot of, uh, heat and hate directed at James. He has switched teams three times in his career, leaving the Cavs in the dust on two occasions, including in 2018 for the Los Angeles Lakers.
More recently, his strong political stances and activism have earned him little beyond grief.
“James has been the target of some criticism on social media — most recently following a tweet about the fatal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl in Columbus,” Pugh noted. “The tweet caused a Cincinnati area bar to say they wouldn’t show NBA games on TV until James was ‘expelled’ by the NBA. James later said he ‘fueled the wrong conversation’ with his initial tweet.”
Soccer star Marcus Rashford received the second-most “abusive” messages at 32,328, while Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady ranked third at 28,151.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (No. 4 at 24,370), NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace (No. 5 at 21,750), Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (No. 6 at 20,904) and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer (No. 7 at 14,083) were also all among the top 10.