September 28, 2023


Examination of new Dodgers fan LeBron James’ MLB allegiances

Examination of new Dodgers fan LeBron James’ MLB allegiances

LeBron James, you may have heard, has played professional basketball and lived in Los Angeles since 2018.

Correspondingly, he also now considers himself a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are aiming to earn the city its second major sports title of the fall after James led the Lakers to the franchise’s 17th championship in the Orlando bubble.

James’ fandom may be tied to geography at this moment, though that hasn’t always been the case. It also wouldn’t be the first time James has jumped on the bandwagon of the World Series contender located in the city he was playing in. Let’s track where James’ baseball allegiances have lied over the years:

New York Yankees

Growing up in Akron, Ohio, LeBron James claimed to be a fan of the New York Yankees. Considering the Bronx Bombers went to six World Series and won four during James’ (mostly) teenage years from 1996-2003, it makes sense that the hyper-competitive star athlete would gravitate towards the winning ways of Derek Jeter and company.

In 2016, he clarified that the Yankees are still No. 1 in his heart:

“I’m a supporter,’’ James told the New York Post. “I’m a supporter of winners. As a kid growing up, I needed inspiration to get out of the situation I was in. I loved the Bulls, Cowboys and loved the Yankees. Those are winning franchises. I liked them because they gave me hope of being a winner. That’s part of the reason I loved those teams but I definitely support what the Indians are doing right now.’’

Cleveland Indians

LeBron James made the above comments during the Indians’ exhilarating run to Game 7 of the World Series, during which James — back with the Cleveland Cavaliers — became a vocal supporter of the local baseball club. Before the team’s playoff run, he released a video wishing the Indians well.

Fresh off leading the Cavaliers to a 3-1 Finals comeback over the Golden State Warriors — the most glorious moment in Cleveland sports history — James and his Cavs teammates were repeatedly spotted in a Progressive Field box during the team’s October run. LeBron was happy to be a part of the fun:

“It’s a special day for our fans in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio to be able to live and enjoy for a day,” James said at the time. “They get an opportunity to see us get our rings and the opportunity to see the Indians host Game 1 of the World Series. It’s a game that will go down in history. For anyone that lives here, they will never forget it. I’m happy to be a part of it. If our game gets done in time, I’ll watch the rest of it for sure.”

On the same night of Game 1 of the World Series, the Cavs received their championship rings. In Game 2, James and his teammates came to the ballpark to proudly display their new jewelry. In the epic Game 7, James and Smith could be seen completely losing their minds:

Ironically, though, Chicago would erase a 3-1 deficit and defeat Cleveland in this championship series.

That December, James seemed to momentarily consider himself a fan of the Chicago Cubs, though he turned out to be on the wrong end of a wager with Chicago native Dwyane Wade after the Cubs victory. LeBron had to dress up in full Cubs gear:

The following season, in the 2017 American League Division Series, James, then-Cavs teammate Wade (remember that?), along with Isaiah Thomas, Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver were back at the ballpark. This time, James chose to wear a semi-neutral red rather than rep a squad.

CC Sabathia, who starred for both the Indians and Yankees, shared his own opinion on who James was pulling for in that ALDS:

These two allegiances first came to a head a decade prior, in 2007, during the ALDS between thee Yankees and Indians. James was a member of the Cavs at the time, yet was proudly pulling for the Yanks in the matchup. In fact, he caused a (relative) uproar when he showed off his Yankees lid for the Progressive Field crowd:

He evidently scaled back obvious displays of Pinstripe Pride in Cleveland in the time since, and, in retrospect, perhaps the minor outrage from Clevelanders in 2007 offered a preview to their reactions to The Decision three years later.

Miami Marlins

While LeBron James played for the Miami Heat from 2011-2014, he didn’t exactly become Marlins Man 2.0. However, as a general baseball fan, he was a frequent attendee of games at Marlins Park. Considering the Marlins finished in either fourth or last place in the NL East during each of James’ four years in South Beach, it’s understandable that he didn’t fully hop on the boat:

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers — looking for the franchise’s first title since 1988 — are currently locked with the Tampa Bay Rays, 1-1, in their third World Series appearance in four seasons. LeBron James is clearly enjoying the ride, even if he’s one of the few people watching.

After L.A.’s 8-3 victory in Game 1 behind the arm of Clayton Kershaw, the Lakers superstar did his best Twitter impression of Magic Johnson in expressing his support for the winning pitcher and team:

Like the rest of us, James was unable to be in person for the opening game of the Fall Classic — which is being played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas — but he seemed to be quite invested in the game from home. He was tweeting like crazy:

Major League Baseball and the Dodgers had some fun with James’ newfound Dodgers interest:

No official word yet if James remains a fan of the struggling Dallas Cowboys, or if he has hopped on the Rams bandwagon by now.

Of course, James has completely legitimate reasons to support all these teams, at least temporarily, at each moment (well, maybe besides the Marlins). Unlike, say, Drake.

LeBron James (1)