Lebron James: The Power of Social Media Silence

Lebron James: The Power of Social Media Silence

When you hear the name Lebron James you might think of his three NBA championships, or his twelve consecutive NBA All-Star selections, or you might just think of him as one of the greatest athletes of our time. For anyone unfamiliar with Lebron’s success on the court, you have undoubtedly heard the name or perhaps you’re familiar with the popular meme about his miraculous hairline recovery.

Screen Shot 2016-11-01 at 1.01.59 PM.png
Image captured from Instagram. @daquan

Lebron has not only become a star on the court, but he has become a star in the public eye, with endorsement deals, TV and movie appearances and a strong social media presence. @KingJames has nearly 26-million followers on Instagram and over 33-million followers on Twitter  with a tweet count of 5,132.

Ironically his activity on social media is not what separates him from other athletes on Twitter or Instagram, but rather his inactivity that is noteworthy.

Over the past five seasons Lebron has made a conscious effort to go on a social media blackout during the playoffs, dubbing this move his “Zero Dark 23.”  Since doing this, the success that he has achieved is remarkable; Lebron has made it to the past five NBA Finals, winning three out of the five and earning NBA Final’s MVP in all three victories.

Graph of @KingJames Twitter activity. Created with Twittonomy.

Research conducted by PEW Research Center surveyed working American adults and found 34% of people admitted using social media while at work to take a mental break. Although it is doubtful that any professional athletes took part in the study, the results of this research demonstrate how social media can be a distraction in the workplace.


Workers use social media at work for many reasons; taking a mental break is one of the most common
PEW Research on social media use in the workplace. 


Perhaps Lebron realized how distracting it can be to stare at the screen of his phone, checking his feed, and made a strategic decision to solely focus on his job on the court during the playoffs. Some athletes have taken similar social media blackout measures, however, there are still athletes who stay just as active during playoffs as they do in the regular season. This past postseason, the Detroit Pistons were swept in the first round by Lebron’s Cavaliers. Piston’s star Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummondd) sent out 12 tweets/retweets during this time. The Atlanta Hawks were also swept in the second round by the Cavaliers, and during this time Hawks guard Dennis Shröder (@DennisMike93) sent out 19 tweets/retweets.

Graph of @andredrummondd Twitter activity. Created with Twittonomy.
Graph of @DennisMike93 Twitter activity. Created with Twittonomy.

In order to be a successful professional athlete maintaining your physical and mental health are imperative to success. Working out and dieting will strengthen the body – perhaps staying focused by monitoring your social media activity will strengthen the mind?


2012 NBA finals picture [Image file]. Retrieved from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/db/62/db/db62db4bddc6181d2a4947342475abfc.jpg

2013 NBA finals picture [Image file]. Retrieved from https://heavyeditorial.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/gettyimages-170991793.jpg?quality=65&strip=all&w=780

2016 NBA finals picture [Image file]. Retrieved from http://www.vladtv.com/images/size_fs/video_image-461267.jpg

Casole-Goeveia, T. (2016, April 19). Lebron James not the only athlete endorsing social media blackouts. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/summer/lebron-james-social-media-blackout-1.3512225

Featured image [Image file]. Retrieved from http://assets1.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/11988913-1040×572.jpg

Hairline meme [Image file]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BLzRi6RD7BA/

Olmstead, K., Lampe, C., & Nicole Ellison (2016, June 22). Social media and the workplace. PEW Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/06/22/social-media-and-the-workplace/



One thought on “Lebron James: The Power of Social Media Silence

  1. This is so interesting. Many people forget how important the mental aspect of athletics is, and Lebron James obviously excels at focusing his mind. Although he is physically imposing, his focus level is likely just as impressive. That’s an interesting link you’ve drawn between social media use and focus levels. I would like to see a study done on this, I’m sure some management and coaching staff would find it useful.

    Liked by 1 person

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