LeBron James on The Shop

LeBron James recently claimed he’s used to experiencing racism from Boston sports fans, but he was probably shocked to see a derogatory social media post from Italian tennis star Matteo Berrettini.

Following James’ dominant 42-point performance in the Drew League, Berrettini shared a photo of the Los Angeles Lakers forward to his Instagram story, but he added gorilla and crown king emojis to the image. Many accused Berrettini’s emoji choice to describe James of being racist and the tennis star ultimately decided to delete the image after it remained on his Instagram story for more than eight hours. Berrettini later responded to the backlash with an apology.

“I am very sorry if my previous story post offended anyone,” Berrettini said. “I was informed that it can easily be misinterpreted so I have deleted it. Lebron is my biggest idol. Incredible role model and inspiration.”

Berrettini is a known basketball fan and claims to hold James in the highest regard. The Italian tennis star even recently compared Rafael Nadal to James, praising both for their physicality and quick rise to stardom.

But in terms of his recent Instagram post, something appears to have gotten lost in translation because the 26-year-old’s decision to use a gorilla emoji to describe James was a curious one, to say the least.

[Daily Mail]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com