Shortly after the Cavaliers finalized a trade with the Celtics and sent Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for a package (including Isaiah Thomas), LeBron James took to Twitter to pay his respects to Irving and say goodbye. And he did it by retweeting a post that a Cleveland fan sent out. The tweet looked like it was going to feature the fan setting Irving’s Cavaliers jersey on fire, but it ended with a surprise twist:
Ok Cavs fans you know what to do.. pic.twitter.com/pZMI6SX8Hb— tony hartman (@tony_hartman) August 22, 2017
In the aftermath of the Irving/Thomas deal, though, some fans took a different approach and burned their jerseys of Irving and Thomas:
Cavalier fans buring Kyrie Irving jersey pic.twitter.com/Kl0CRNfo0l— Brian Hudson (@BrianHudson93) August 23, 2017
Not my Point Guard pic.twitter.com/TVTI1Qu0aD— Kyle Gordon (@kylegordon28) August 23, 2017
The fact that some Celtics fans burned Thomas’ jersey was, well, confusing. Irving had reportedly requested a trade out of Cleveland, so we could understand why some Cavaliers fans might be upset. But Thomas literally did nothing to deserve having his jersey burned by Boston fans. He was likely just as surprised by the trade as they were, so it seemed silly to see fans torching his jersey as if he forced his way out of Boston.
But the whole jersey-burning thing is nothing new, and unfortunately, it’s turned into a recurring trend in sports. A player decides to leave a team in free agency, and within hours, there are dozens of fans burning that player’s jersey all over social media. Just look at how many Jazz fans took a lighter to Gordon Hayward’s jersey earlier this summer when he left Utah to join the Celtics:
At this point, we’ve had enough of this stupid tradition, and apparently, so has LeBron. He jumped on Twitter Thursday afternoon to rip into "fans" who burn players’ jerseys; he also defended his new teammate Thomas in the process. Here's what he had to say about the odd phenomenon:
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
Same. Same. Same. Same. Same. We co-sign all five of those tweets and respectfully ask you—yes, you—to put the match down and hang your jersey back in the closet.