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LeBron James tweets he’s “at WAR besides my Soldiers”

Mar 2, 2011, 10:06 PM EDT

LeBron James

The worst enemy to LeBron James’ image is LeBron James.

James sent out this tweet today and probably thought nothing of it:

20+ games left in phase 2. I’m ReFOCUSED! No prisoners, I have no friends when at WAR besides my Soldiers.

But the condemnation on twitter was fast and furious — athletes using military terminology and saying they are at war while the country is actually at war and people are dying is a public relations disaster waiting to happen. Just ask Kellen Winslow.

And I get that. I get that sports are not war and the comparisons are silly. LeBron will make tens of million, soldiers actually risk their lives for an annual salary James blows on a night out in Vegas. James is playing games and living large at home, soldiers are changing lives in cramped conditions in far off lands.

But from coaches to players for generations, war and military language have been a part of sports. Because it’s about striving together as a unit to best an opponent. Because it is a brotherhood. The stakes are far less high, the consequences of losing far less serious. But there is a similarity of purpose.

For LeBron, who is under the brightest of spotlights, this is just another public relations mistake. Whatever he meant to say. To borrow another military expression, he shoots himself in the foot a lot. LeBron’s supporters will point out that he meant no disrespect to the troops with this, and that is true. LeBron’s detractors will add this to the long list of things he has done that rub people the wrong way.

Really, this tweet is a LeBron James Rorschach test — what you think of this tweet probably tells you more about what you think of LeBron than it does about his words.

But LeBron didn’t really need anything else to fuel the fire of people weary of him. That’s why this is another public relations mistake.

  1. digitalpoo - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    If you take offense to this you need to get your panties out of a knot.

  2. whyjaaay - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Trust me. I’m all for the appreciation of the military, more specifically the men and women who risk their lives for us (my own brother is in the military)… And I’m not much of a LeBron James fan myself. (I loved the “I’m a PILE OF STICKS” poof of his commercial on YouTube [replace “PILE OF STICKS” with the word you think it actually is])

    The thing is, people figuratively speak of “war” and “soldiers”, and include other military language all the time whether it’s in sports, at work, or even at children’s schools. Why is it such a big deal if an athlete says it? I don’t see people smacking little kids upside the head when they pretend to shoot each other in the playground… Is this really worse? (Don’t answer yes because you’d be wrong.)

    Instead of wining about what other people are saying about the war (even though he didn’t directly mention anything about our ongoing war), go make a donation or two to some foundations for soldiers.

  3. thatdude2309 - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Everyone has it out for James bc he left the Cavs that if u havn’t seen this year they suck without him and will suck till the team folds. And as for the media and James the media has it out for him always picking at everything the guy says and mixing up his word and tryin to trap him in to saying sonething wrong Leave him alone already he left the Cavs and is in a much better place for him get over it Already

    • paintan8 - Mar 3, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      My God! How the hell did you get out of the 5th grade?

    • silencegooddoer - Mar 5, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      The Cavs last year were better than the Heat is this year. How do support your statement?

  4. metalhead65 - Mar 3, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    dude people hate lebron not because he left the cavs,well maybe cavs fans do but the way in which he did it! he wasn’t man enough to say he wanted to move on and play elsewhere but had to do it on tv after a special about the decision he had already made months before. that and all the excuses he made for doing it like they never got me the right players to win or the right coach bla bla bla. everybody knows he was in charge there and the cavs did whatever he wanted. bottom line he has all the talent in the world but can’t handle the resposibility that comes with it. and don’t worry it will take awhile but the cavs will back.

    • thatdude2309 - Mar 3, 2011 at 1:32 AM

      Cavs put no one around him name me one good player that was around him to help him win ??? U can’t bc they all sucked and still suck with out him he took that team by himself to the playoffs ever year he never had a number 2 guy or anyone else he had washed up bums and never has beens and never will bees and the Cavs will never bounce back look at that team hahaha and that’s the same team that was there when James was there and now look at them U take James off that team and they won’t win 20 games. Shows us all how good James is He was smart to get out of there

      • silencegooddoer - Mar 5, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        Why did they have the best record last year then Braniac??? The Cavs were THE team to beat last year and the Celtics achieved that along with LBJ’s poor performance. The Heat is not looking like they will be relevant this year in the playoffs. All the teams they may face have owned them. Even the Knicks! How come Melo, Billups and Amare are not “A work in progress?”

  5. saveusterrelldavis - Mar 3, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    LeBron’s been kicking it with Kellen Winslow…

  6. tubal22 - Mar 3, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    Lebron needs to hire a new manager.

    And the first thing this new manager should do is make sure Lebron doesn’t say, text, tweet, or post anything without running it through his manager first. Lebron has a lot of talent, but he has got to be one of the dumbest people in the NBA.

  7. musilly - Mar 3, 2011 at 4:02 AM

    War is an incredibly serious business. I doubt that real soldiers give a hoot one way or another about the way Lebron describes the campaign (er, season). He has opened the door for non-soldiers who don’t like him to complain, but it’s hard to take that stuff seriously when you know that they really dislike him for other reasons.

  8. slmike23 - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:18 AM

    Can’t we send Lebron to Libya and bring home the soldiers and split his money among them?

  9. henryd3rd - Mar 3, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    Will some please take away this man’s Blackberry? Its like giving a loaded weapon to a child. Having served in three years in the Mariens and one of those three years in Vietnam I am offended when I hear someone as pampered and as ignorant make a statements such as the one attributed to LaBron. He has no idea of the meaning of the words war or sacrifice. He has been pampered most of his young life because of a God given talent that he takes for granted. If he had ever seen the face of war he would not use it in his every day conversation and in such a callous manner.

    People have been making excuses for this “child” far too long and he needs someone to take a paddle to his behind and then send him to a “time out”. Its obvious no one has ever said no to this little boy and maybe if someone had said no we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.

    Sempre Fi!!!!

    • ibleedaquaorange - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:52 AM

      If you’re offended, I’m inclined to state that you’re the one with the problem.

  10. stinkfingers - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    Twitter could be the greatest thing ever. It makes it so easy for these guys to make themselves look like total jackasses.

  11. hnirobert3 - Mar 3, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    I’d like to think LeBron does this stuff to egg people on and pull a fast one, but I think he’s really clueless. I’m not as disappointed in him as I was when Kellen Winslow did his “I’M A SOLDIER” rant after the Hurricanes/Volunteers game, but I believe in letting your game talk. Don’t let Amar’e block your shot. Take a game over when it’s tight, both offensively and defensively. Don’t let games get close when you have a 14 point lead.

  12. tstreet - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    I think if Lebron takes one trip overseas (Iraq or Afghan) like some other athletes/celebrities have done, he would not compare the two again. There is no comparison in trying win an NBA Championship and driving in a convoy from Summerall, Iraq to Mosul, Iraq. You play basketball, you dont play war.

  13. rickmirer - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    There is so much awesome fun stuff going on in basketball, and still, sites like this (which I generally enjoy) and espn (which I loathe) focus on players’ tweeters, which are meaningless. Another thing that stools my pigeons, is that while there are 8+ posts daily on ProFootballTalk, there are very few on ProBasketballTalk, and still, with the minimal posts, the sensationalist hooey makes it in. I will continue to frequent this site, but I fear it’s headed down puffery alley on the way to espn boulevard.

  14. jonirocit - Mar 3, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    Props to you whyjaaay well said my friend

  15. omniusprime - Mar 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Looks like Queen James is at war with the English language. Kurt forgot to mention that not only did Queen James think nothing of the tweet after he sent it he certainly didn’t think while writing it. Queen James certainly proves how poorly educated our high school students have become, he’s no Kobe Bryant who sounds far more intelligent with his high school education.

    Plus let’s not forget that Queen James never had the courage and patriotism to serve in our military, so him saying that he’s at war sounds ludicrous to this old Army veteran.

    We all know what a sissy Queen James is on defense and we’ll see once again in the playoffs how he cuts and runs when the going gets tough. Kobe Bryant is the greatest basketball player in the world and the Repeat World Champion Lakers will Threepeat this June!

    • hnirobert3 - Mar 3, 2011 at 9:57 AM

      Your break at Chuck E. Cheese is up. Go back to work and grow up.

    • pff - Mar 3, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      i love this – guy ragging LeBron on his education and probably makes 1/1,000th of what James makes. looks like his education is treating him just fine. dork

  16. savocabol1 - Mar 3, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Any other athlete uses these terms he gets murdered. Lebron does and no one but PBT says anything. Hmmmmmmmm

    • hnirobert3 - Mar 3, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      So you want him to get killed for this comment like he’s been killed for everything else he’s said and done in the past 7 months?

      • savocabol1 - Mar 3, 2011 at 4:28 PM


  17. psousa1 - Mar 3, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    I’m sure the NBA jock sniffers at ESPN all are ready to enlist in his army. But first they have stop screaming like 14 year girls at a Jonas Brothers concert at the redundant highlights of dunks. NBA sucks.

    • savocabol1 - Mar 3, 2011 at 4:30 PM

      There is no point in watching the first three quarters of an NBA game. Or the first 75 games of the season. FACT.

      • tubal22 - Mar 3, 2011 at 9:26 PM

        There is no point in living. You’re going to die anyway.

        Some people enjoy watching basketball. FACT.

  18. rickydo22 - Mar 3, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    These insensitive comments are just more fuel added to the fire. This guy was a jerk way before he left for South Beach.Lebron left $60 on a $3000 bill as a tip,$20 on a $1800 bill another time. That dosnt make him a jerk by itself,but that shows what kind of person he is. As a lifelong Clevelander,I can tell you,this guy recieved a pass many times with questionable behavior. His mother ran amuck and was totally disgraceful. We wanted a championship so bad that we looked the other way many times. As far as the team,he hand picked this team and then left without bringing home the hardware.He wanted Larry Hughes,Antwan Jamison,and gave his approval to all the other trades. Even if he gets his ring in Miami,his legacy is already written.He is a quitter! He QUIT in the Boston series and he QUIT on the city. Good Luck Lebron! DROP DEAD!

  19. saturn1111 - Mar 3, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    “Really, this tweet is a LeBron James Rorschach test — what you think of this tweet probably tells you more about what you think of LeBron than it does about his words.”

    This ^^^ is complete and total BS. LeBron’s words are a colossal gaffe according to any interpretation, even the most sympathetic and even handed. If someone who hasn’t been such a lightning bolt for controversy said these words, they’d be roundly and swiftly condemned.

    Just because LeBron has been unfairly judged on other counts doesn’t mean we have to worry about that in this case. He said something really stupid.

  20. packymalley - Mar 4, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    As a Clevelander, I was one of his biggest fans. But the craziest thing I ever saw in professional sports was a quitter. Seriously. I never saw an athlete QUIT! Gane #5 against Boston was amazing, that is one of the reasons betting is so uncertain. Then he split and the team he built was in shambles. The Cavs are in bad shape now but they are not at all the team they were last year either. The Heat are no way going to win it this year. This is his 8th year. I expect him to play several more years but if he doesn’t win a title he looks more ridiculous every year, especially with the tattoes and nicknames. We all wish he would have stayed in Cleveland, and brought talent with him but he wasn’t that guy. Since the day of the “Decision” there have been more bad bad PR moves in 7 months then the previous 7 years. He is a beast of a basketball player but he has lost his national appeal as he is always voted as the most “hated” guy in sports. We hope our owner, Dan Gilbert gets in some stellar talent…quick. There will never be another LeBron though. The Cavs would have folded if he didn’t come here in 2003.

  21. davidly - Mar 5, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    Seems pretty misguided in a world where politicians use sports analogies for the wars they wage. Maybe folks should reserve their ire for the wars themselves and our shameless need to promote them during halftime shows at sporting events.

    • davidly - Mar 7, 2011 at 9:16 AM

      I should amend: by misguided, I mean the reaction, not the “tweet”.

  22. gmsingh - Mar 6, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Is English his first language?

    • davidly - Mar 7, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      In fairness, the electronic communique has all but destroyed “English” or any other language, for that matter.

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