Fans burning jerseys is understandably a sensitive subject for LeBron James. After all, his old Cleveland Cavaliers jersey being set ablaze was one of the defining images of the night he chose to leave the franchise for the Miami Heat in 2010.
It's been more than seven years since "The Decision" and it seems like a jersey now gets burned after every player transaction. Earlier this week, a video of Boston Celtics fans burning an Isaiah Thomas jersey went viral -- even though Thomas joined the Cavs via a trade, not free agency, and thus had no say in the matter.
Earlier this summer, fans in Utah made similar videos after Gordon Hayward left the Jazz to join the Celtics. On Thursday, James decided he's seen enough, taking to Twitter to defend his new teammate, Thomas, as well as Hayward, in a series of tweets.
The burning of the jersey thing is getting ridiculous now! The man was traded. What do u not understand? & played in a game after .....— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 24, 2017
sister tragic death. Gordon Hayward paid he's dues as well and decided to do what's best for him and family. Put in the work, got better....— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 24, 2017
Became an All-Star, etc!! If these guys weren't good, u guys would be the first to say "get them up out of here". Man beat it! When "we"....— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 24, 2017
decide to do what best for us it's "cowardly" "traitor", etc but when it's on the other side it's "business" huh!?!? Ooh ok. Man do.....— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 24, 2017
James' frustration is obviously understandable given his messy departure from Cleveland in 2010. The use of the words "cowardly" and "traitor" also echo the sentiment of the infamous letter that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert directed at James following his departure.
It's also no secret that James can opt-out of his contract with Cleveland next summer and become a free agent. And should he do that and sign with another team, it would obviously be disheartening to James to see Cavs fans respond in a similar fashion.
But if they do, it's clear James won't be afraid to speak out.