Cavaliers superfan LeBron James drank wine and left early as Cleveland lost to Boston

As the NBA playoffs roll along, games are often rife with more and more celebrity courtside cameos in each round. And while Cleveland is not New York in that respect (and many others) it still drew a few famous faces as the Cavaliers took on the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with actor Mark Wahlberg, reality TV personality Khloe Kardashian, Adele’s boyfriend Rich Paul and Space Jam: A New Legacy star LeBron James in attendance on Monday.

That last celebrity, understandably, got most of the buzz. Was The King sending a reminder to the Lakers to do what he wants this offseason or he has an NBA home he’s ready and willing to go back to? Was he trying to recruit Donovan Mitchell to Los Angeles? Did his podcast co-host JJ Redick prank him and say he was calling this game for ESPN and that they could meet up and record in person after? All of these are interesting questions, but the most important one — one that likely only this blogger is brave enough to ask — is simple…

Is LeBron James a bad Cavs fan?

First, some context: James was ready to have a good time in his hometown arena as he cheered on his Cavaliers, but with multiple bottles of water in addition to his bottle of wine and (possibly) coffee, he was also clearly making sure he stayed LeHydrated:

As our own resident 23-year-old on staff noted, mixing coffee and wine is wild, but maybe LeBron just wanted to be ready for any scenario and wasn’t actually drinking both at once. If the game was boring, he could stay up. If it was riveting, he could have a nice bottle of wine and some basketball. Either way, that’s just a small display of the level of preparation that’s allowed him to play to 39 years old at this level.

Anyway, as you would expect, Cleveland showed a bunch of love to the man who brought them their first NBA championship when he got shown on the jumbotron in some of the most brazen tampering of all-time a heartwarming moment:

But while that’s nice and all, LeBron wasn’t ready to fully reciprocate. Not only did he not wear the shirt provided to Cavs fans, but then he left early as they were getting set to lose.

I can’t wait for that to become a meme for Cavs fans whenever their team is about to lose or makes a terrible play, but also, this is where you can see the effects of LeBron’s time in Miami was formative for his behavior as a sports fan, and that his Lakers stint has only reinforced it; leaving early and not wearing the free shirt are staples for celebrities and rich people in both his old stomping grounds and his current one. He really is a beach city man now.

But OK, fine, in all seriousness, it is very funny that LeBron is a true 39-year-old dad here. He knows that every minute he waited until the end was going to cost him at least an extra 10-20 getting out of the parking garage, and he was not trying to get home at midnight instead of 11 p.m. He needs his LeRest, after all.

However, even if LeBron can’t beat the “bad fan” allegations, no one can doubt his credentials as an NBA podcaster. Because if there is one thing all of us among the bloggerati know, this Celtics team has a unique ability among good rosters to collapse late in playoff games. He has watched them do it enough the last few years to know it was still possible for them to barf all over themselves for what would have been their worst postseason loss yet… at least until the final dagger from Jaylen Brown hit a jumper to put Boston back up by seven points with just over a minute left and essentially seal their eventual, 109-102, win.

Maybe Boston could have managed to cough that up if Mitchell was playing, but maybe LeBron is also a better Cavs fan than I gave him credit for above — he’s clearly seen enough Cleveland games this season to know that there was no chance of that happening without their most clutch contributor and his possible future teammate.

So, the final verdict? LeBron James is just a casual Cavs fan. The biggest diehards of the diehards would have had enough delusion to hold out hope until the end, but James is removed enough to know when his team is out of it against an opponent that is just better and healthier than them, and old and wise enough to not care about fandom shaming and make sure he tried to avoid as much traffic as possible on the way out. He really is a relatable King.

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