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Twitterverse becomes spitterverse for LeBron

Having opened a Twitter account just before making his big decision, LeBron James experiences just what real-time bile feels like.

King Tawdry of Cleveland donned a shirt that looked like it came from Mervyn's, took out his earrings, and spoke down to his people. You knew he was serious because he was on ESPN and referred to himself in the third person.

He declared his commitment to leave the joys of his kingdom and "take his talents" to South Beach.

I like South Beach, a little more than I like LeBron James. So, in an attempt to see joy battle punishment, I decided to follow the Twitter feed specially created just for his vastly inflated moment of truth.

Please do not confuse #lebrondecision with James' brand-new personal Twitter feed,

The LeBrondecision hashtag is there specifically so that you can ask the King questions and he can offer you a Whopper later Thursday evening. Wait, it's not that King. This one will no doubt give you truthful answers about his commitment to excellence, a phrase last heard by that most excellent sporting franchise, the Los Angeles Raiders.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

In the seconds, minutes, and hours after LeBron's louche, gauche announcement, the faithful flocked to Twitter to place their lips as close to his feet as possible. Well, perhaps some did. Many flocked to cock their legs and kick as hard as they could.

When it comes to the Twitterverse, stars naturally waded in to praise the man who will now be playing with the slightly portly Dwayne Wade.

Sometime comedian Dane Cook, for example, offered a very popular tweet that sailed past the 100 retweet mark: "Not surprised by LeBron's decision to go to Miami. Very shocked to discover he has at least 68 bottom teeth."

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

While some people were inane enough to ask tweeted questions such as "what are your expectations for this coming season?" more seemed to have rather stronger emotions.

For example, a poster called clippercheer stamped her feet and tweeted with a quite poignant new addition to the lexicon: "i know you want to win a championship but does winning means that much that you have to betrade you home town?"

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Somehow, the concept of a betrade seems so much more appropriate to today's interesting world. This is not mere betrayal, but something far more commercial. Indeed, there was something so splendidly venal about buying an hour of ESPN just to talk about yourself.

Some tweeters decided to be firmly immediate, on viewing this spectacle: "are you excited to suddenly be in the discussion for best sidekick of all time...?" tweeted spencersoloway.

But, as Cleveland fans burned his shirts publicly, CHImemphisOGCVL decided to take the sidekick idea far beyond any imagined by T-Mobile: "how does it feel to be known as #ScottiePippen on steroids, with your new & proper nickname, #LeBitch ???" (More of Scottie Pippen shortly.)

While Adoresixtyfour decided to suggest a little perspective: "I'll announce what movie I'll see this weekend on a one-hour special @ 8 p.m. tonight. #lebrondecision," a lady called mprokay snarled: "What do we tell the kids in CLE and Akron who admired you and are crying tonight? What a waste of time."

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Indeed, OhioSportsLead compared James to Art Modell, the owner who shipped the original Cleveland Browns out in trucks in the middle of the night: "You use to be the king now your just a pawn! How does it feel to be the black Art Modell? #lebrondecision"

Daniel Catura tweeted: "LeBron is the new Benedict Arnold. Thank God you didn't join the military. You do not have any honor or Esprit de Corps."

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Within hours, #burningLebronsjersey became a very hot Twitter topic. While #Lebrondecision did not. However, this hashtag was mostly populated by those who thought it was quite silly to be burning LeBron's jersey.

However, Twitter's No. 1 trending topic, perhaps showing how deft the Twitterverse can be in denigrating with a little style was #Scottie Pippen.

Somehow, many clever twitterers had deduced that James being willing to play with Wade and Bosh constituted his becoming a mere prince rather than a King.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Tweeter Raford3 offered: "I love that Scottie Pippen is a Trending Topic because that's who people are comparing LeBron to. Twitter's the best."

While someone called Stemeyer even declared: "Comparing LeBron to Scottie Pippen is giving LeBron too much credit. Sorry Scottie, you don't deserve this."

Indeed, the straight up #LeBron James had more Twitter power. A sample tweet from POHSIBVISION: "LeBron James should think about joining the suspected Russian Spies on their flight back to Russia. Im sure the Russian would welcome him."

It was a little surprising that few people from the other spurned towns, such as New York or Chicago, seemed keen to vent their hometown spleen. But it was clear that the Twittering bickering would carry on well into the night. Perhaps twitterer Brett2Point0 said it best earlier Thursday: "@KingJames Question: How do you keep an idiot in suspense? Answer: I'll tell you later..#lebrondecision."

Perhaps LeBron James learned that, having recently entered Twitter, it's a little more difficult to control the conversation. Perhaps he learned nothing at all. Or perhaps he's never going to read any of these tweets anyway.