Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sent the whole NBA Twitter buzzing after he revealed that he doesn’t like the game of Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James at all.
On Wednesday–a day after leading the Thunder to a narrow 101-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers–SGA was asked how LeBron influenced his game growing up. Interestingly, the All-Star guard said that he “never liked” it, explaining that James “was just super athletic” and he “wasn’t [like] that.”
“He was 6’8″, and super strong and I wasn’t that either,” Gilgeous-Alexander added.
Sure enough, NBA fans have mixed reactions to the comments made by the Thunder scorer, with many accusing him of being a “hater.” Several others criticized him and called him a “free throw merchant,” referencing his 9.7 free throws made per game that forms a huge part of his 31.4-point scoring average this 2022-23 season.
“He just a hater lmao,” one critic said. Another one shared, “Bro thought he was cookin lol.. get that foul merchant off my screen.”
“Shai yo game is foul baiting. You averaging 10+ FTs a game. I’m pretty Sure he doesn’t like yours either. Stay humble buddy,” a third Twitter user said.
Others, however, were quick to defend Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. They emphasized that SGA was not hating on LeBron James and instead, he was only saying he didn’t gravitate towards his style of play considering their physical differences.
“It’s more about not being able to relate to a player 2 me. Not many 6’8″ 240 pound shooting guards coming out of high school to the league. Shaq as well. MJ and Kobe and now Steph are much more relatable to average athlete. Steph really makes it dream possible,” a commenter added.
Sports journalist Ashley Nicole Moss added, “I didn’t take this as ‘hating.’ To me, it comes across like he’s saying he didn’t gravitate towards LeBron’s game [because] he didn’t see pieces of himself in it. For him, at the time, it didn’t seem attainable and that’s fair.”
Of course there are also many who simply jumped in to hate on the Lakers star, comparing him to the likes of Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant.
For what it’s worth, looking at SGA’s interview, he was definitely not mocking James and was merely stating why the NBA great didn’t have that much influence on his playing style.