My 13-Year-Old LeBron Tweet Has Returned to Haunt Me

Commentary: I once called LeBron James overrated. And Twitter won't let me forget about it.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
4 min read
Lebron James scoring a basket

I owe LeBron an apology. 

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

A funny thing happened to me this week, moments after LeBron James broke the NBA's all-time scoring record: I started going viral on Twitter. And not in a good way. 

It made no sense. It had been more than 12 hours since I last posted, and that tweet was about Microsoft and the new Bing. I wasn't even watching the game between LeBron's Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder -- I only knew the record was broken because of a news alert on my phone. (As a father of two young and active children, I'm already spiritually and physically broken at this point in the day.)

Stranger still: The viral tweet in question hadn't even been sent that day, that week or that year. No, this was a tweet I fired off 13 years ago. And it was going bonkers: Nearly 160,000 people have seen the tweet, which has garnered more than 600 likes. 

It read: "LeBron James=overrated AND heading to New York. Sucks to be in Cleveland right now."

Taken without any context, this is an epically bad take. Indefensible. Nonsensical. James is on the Los Angeles Lakers. He never played in New York. And clearly, after toppling a 39-year-old record held by the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he's actually pretty good. 

And the final irony of this post: I'm a hardcore Lakers fan, which is listed right on my Twitter bio. I should know better, right?

The whole thing initially threw me off kilter. When the first notification hit my phone and I read the tweet, my gut reaction was: "Wow, that's a stupid take!" My second reaction after looking at it more closely: "Oh wait, I wrote that…"

The fact that Barack Obama was still in the White House when that tweet came out didn't matter to the denizens of today's sports Twitter, who mercilessly roasted me. @OldTakesExposed kicked things off by retweeting my post, and the haters came flooding in. 

"Damn you got like everything wrong here," said @Loki64746912.

"I admire being so incorrect," said @OgClutch1.

And perhaps the best insult from @WhackPoser216: "It's actually pretty awesome to be in Cleveland. How the Lakers doing?" Not well, WhackPoser216, not well. 

Shout out to @BradRobinson86, who came to my defense: "Jesus @OldTakesExpossed this is 13 years old."

But it didn't matter. This is Twitter in 2023, a place where time has no meaning, trolls roam free and it seems like the inmates are running the asylum (oh, wait…). Not that I minded the jabs and taunts -- my phone hasn't blown up like that since I got former T-Mobile CEO John Legere kicked out of an AT&T party. I actually enjoyed the buzz of my phone and a notification from someone telling me that I was so, so wrong. 

At this point I think it's safe to say that my post is just horrifically, embarrassingly off. With more than a decade of hindsight, it's clearly wrong in multiple ways. A newly earned scoring record and four titles for LeBron has me with egg on my face.

But more fascinating to me: This tweet also served as a reflection of someone wholly different from the person banging away at a keyboard now. This was Roger in his early 30s, likely in a midtown Manhattan sports bar, one hand on a glass of beer and the other on his phone, quick to tweet. He was actively engaged in the Twittersphere, eager to join the conversation, any conversation. He also would've taken this more seriously, and maybe gotten a little defensive about the whole thing.

Current Roger is a lot more burned out from social media and, in general, a lot more zen about things. So maybe it's good that it's happening now. Either way, it's a refreshing reminder of who I was. 

Current Roger also has the benefit of a whole lot of hindsight. Remember, it was 2010, and none of James' titles had materialized yet. My tweet went live on May 13, 2010, the same day the Kevin Garnett-led Boston Celtics bounced James' Cleveland Cavaliers out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The loss had Cleveland wondering if its hometown hero would stick around, with the smart money suggesting he would move to the New York Knicks. 

James would announce two months later that he was "gonna take my talents" to Miami instead. Viewed with that context, my tweet makes a lot more sense (even if it's still not great). 

Twitter, however, isn't going to let logic or context deter sports fans from skewering one of its own. And I'm totally game. Heck, I'd welcome a second helping of backlash if James could win my Lakers another title. I've got a glimmer of hope after all of the trades made this week. 

But I'm not dumb enough to post another foolhardy James prediction. One viral moment is enough.