Los Angeles, CA – National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar LeBron James is facing massive blowback from across the nation for what many saw as blatant disrespect of the National Anthem at the season opening game on Tuesday (video below).
NBA on ESPN tweeted out a nine-second video clip of the uber-famous basketball star walking off the court during the last words of the Star Spangled Banner with the caption “LeBron is READY.”
The rest of his team was still standing with their hands over their hearts, as was the rest of the crowd in the arena.
As he strode away, James turned to the bleachers and yelled “Let’s go!!!” in what appeared to be an effort to pump up the crowd before taking his seat on the sidelines.
While the crowd didn’t seem cognizant of James’ faux pas in the video, the social media universe went crazy when the clip was posted to Twitter.
Thousands of people called the Los Angeles Lakers’ star “disrespectful” for not waiting until the National Anthem had finished playing.
Numerous people tied their criticism to James’ recent criticism of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.
"If this was the Chinese anthem @kingjames would have showed the proper respect," Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy tweeted.
“Everybody knows you gotta play the Chinese Anthem if you don't want him to scream and walk off the court,” tweeted Alana Mastrangelo from Breitbart News.
“Different views of America.. just watched on TV 5 a Firefighter in Massachusetts saving a beloved US Flag from a burning home. Then watched LeBron James during the anthem at the Lakers first game leave the bench screeching...Does LeBron respect Red China more than America..??” talk show host Bill Cunningham posted.
But it wasn’t just conservative luminaries who were offended by King James’ behavior.
James has been a vocal supporter of former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started a protest when he began taking a knee during the National Anthem in 2016.
“I stand with Kap. I kneel with Kap,” James said in February, according to The Hill. “I feel what he was talking about, nobody wanted to listen to. Nobody ever really wanted to actually understand where he was coming from.”
“Anybody that would sacrifice their livelihood for the better of all of us, I can respect that. And he’s done that,” the basketball star said.
In December of 2018, James accused NFL owners of being “old white men” who had a “slave mentality,” according to The Hill.
“In the NFL they just got a bunch of old, white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality," James said. “And it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the f--k I tell y’all to do, or we get rid of y’all.’”
Watch the nine-second video that started another controversy here below: