LeBron James has played a good chunk of his career under the unforgiving lens of social media, where players are criticized, mocked and turned into memes for chuckles.
He has a perceptive view of the good and bad of social media.
“If you’re a celebrity, you realize it’s actually really bad for you if you pay attention to it,” James said Saturday. “Like, if you really pay attention, there are people out there that really try to tear you down. 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. …
“But if I have some words of advice, if you’re a part of it and it bothers you, then you probably should just delete it off your phone. That would be if it bothers you.”
During the regular season, James is active on social media, including Twitter and Instagram, but during the playoffs, James refrains from social media.
For this postseason, James turned his Instagram account over to people with inspirational stories, such as kids who want to end bullying and help the environment.
Even though he’s not on social media, he is aware of what’s going. When asked about Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s tweets complimentary of James, the team and the Cavs’ front office, James said, “I’m not on social media right now, so I wasn’t aware of that. It was his account though, right?” referencing the Twitter scandal involving Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo.
James is comfortable enough to laugh at the memes poking fun at him.
“I’ve learned how to laugh at the memes that come through,” he said. “I’ve learned if it’s someone that’s trying to kill me in the fashion to laugh at that, too, because it’s funny at times as well, and not take too much into it.”
He acknowledged it took him time to learn the golden rule of social media: don’t read the comments.
“It comes with growth,” James said. “I think it comes with understanding what matters and what doesn’t matter in your life, in your personal life.”