Black Sports Online - The map below is based on geotagged Twitter data in the last month, tracking tweets, hashtags, and direct keyword phrases about disliking NBA players in each state. For example, tweets containing phrases like “I hate LeBron” or “I hate Kyrie” etc. Over 70,000 tweets were tracked.
As you can see from the map, LeBron is the most hated NBA player (keep in mind this only tracked negative sentiment, as he is likely the most popular as well), but it seems that Kyrie Irving is quickly catching up to him, and replacing much of the dislike for his teammate Kevin Durant.
...The breakdown is as follows:
LeBron James – 24 states
Kyrie Irving – 18 states
James Harden – 3 states
Kevin Durant – 3 states
Russell Westbrook – 1 state
Paul George – 1 state
This is the kind of electoral map that gives professional political consultants seven figure salaries, houses in the Hamptons and wet dreams. Granted, this is a two man race. But those two are winning in a landslide. If you allow for them splitting the ticket, they are Reagan in '84, and the rest of the field are Mondale.
For the rest of us, especially those in the Lebron James and Kyrie Irving-hating community, this comes as a source of great comfort. We are not alone. Even when it seems like the NBA and the people who cover it fawn over these two like the BBC covering the Royals. They're above criticism. Infallible. But this gives me hope. It's proof that powerful oligarchies like the league and the cable networks can't convince the public to like guys that are this unlikeable.
So what do you think caused all this hatred? Could it be James' flopping? His moments of bad acting and fake heroism?
A personal favorite of mine, the time in Boston he got off the team bus at the Garden and walked by the ESPN cameras in the corridor wearing glasses and … reading a book? To be specific, The Godfather. And he was on like page 3. Because there's no better time to start a 50 year old novel than on a short ride from your hotel.
Maybe it's golden moments like these:
Let me count the ways. But that would take all summer and count me among those who plan on spending the next few weeks getting ready to watch Lebron face the Goon Squad.
As far as Irving, I'm proud to see he swept the New England primary, though not surprised. The pleasant surprise is we were joined by 12 other states who don't have the same grudge. His underachieving and blaming his young teammates for his failures and saying he planned to stay forever while he was in the process of working his way to Brooklyn and coming back by burning sage and then this ragtime:
And still, more than a quarter of the country outside of New England hates him too. Hates him more than even Lebron. And he gets more hated by the year. The data is in, and the science is settled on that.
Like I said, it's good to hear. Rewarding to know that the nation is united on this front. We may have completely lost the ability to elect leaders. But it's rewarding to know that a majority of the states have a Lebron and Kyrie problem. There is hope for us yet.