LeBron James is currently in the unfamiliar position of sitting at home (or in Cancun), watching the first round of the NBA playoffs. He's still finding ways to haunt teams.
Since the Los Angeles Lakers missed the postseason, their star has been tweeting about the playoffs like all the rest of us. However, some ill-timed tweets of praise currently have him holding the title of the NBA's biggest jinx.
James' curse hit its apex on Thursday when the No. 7-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves were steamrolling the No. 2-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley made a layup to push his team's lead to 49-28 with 6:20 left in the second quarter, inspiring James to post this:
The Pit Bull is balling right now! Locked in
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 22, 2022
The Timberwolves would score one more time in the quarter as the Grizzlies cut their lead to double digits. The Grizzlies would eventually win 104-95 thanks to a 23-0 run in the third and fourth quarters.
Look further in James' timeline and you'll find this praise for Kyrie Irving, his former teammate with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Young God-rie is so damn good at basketball man!!! INSANE SKILL!!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 17, 2022
That came while the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics were locked in a classic to open their highly anticipated first-round series. The game ended with some heroics from Jayson Tatum, and the Celtics have since won Game 2 to take an imposing 2-0 series lead.
Another jinx came during the play-in tournament, when the Los Angeles Clippers held a sizable lead over the New Orleans Pelicans after coming back from a slow start. Plenty were singing the praises of James' old coach Tyronn Lue, including James himself.
Simply the BEST coach in the game! ARGUE with your kids not me. 🤷🏾♂️
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 16, 2022
From the moment that tweet was sent, the Clippers were outscored 31-14, ending their season with a 105-101 loss in the West's second play-in game.
To be fair to James, he has tweeted praise for teams that did not immediately face-plant, but the meltdowns still outnumber the success stories. The Miami Heat survived his commendation of their player development in Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks, and the Pelicans still put away the Clippers after he pointed out Larry Nance Jr.'s hard work (though he was hedging his bets in that case).
If you want to find the origins of this curse, you could go all the way back to April Fools' Day, when James jokingly announced he was done for the season (it was still mathematically possible for the Lakers to make the play-in tournament at that point).
I’m out for the season officially. 🤦🏾♂️. See y’all in the fall. 👑✌🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 1, 2022
The Lakers would not win another game until they were out of postseason contention. James played the night he posted that tweet, but shut things down for real after that due to an ankle injury.