Why billionaire LeBron James won’t shell out $8 a month for a blue tick on Twitter


The four-time NBA MVP will no longer have a blue check on Elon Musk’s Twitter after the company axes its legacy verification program Saturday.
He may be a billionaire but LeBron James said he won’t pay $8 per month for a blue checkmark on Twitter. Image: Getty

In a matter of billionaires squabbling over chump change, NBA superstar LeBron James said Friday he won’t pay for a blue checkmark on Twitter ahead of the Elon Musk-owned company’s Saturday deadline.

Key Facts

“Welp guess my blue ✔️ will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5,” James tweeted Friday afternoon.

James, whose 53 million Twitter followers make him one of the site’s most popular users, quickly went viral for his quip, picking up more than 70,000 likes in the first hour of his post.

James appears to be referring to the $8 monthly fee for Twitter Blue, the social media’s premium service that offers verification to all paid users and will be the only way for individuals to receive the coveted blue checkmark beginning Saturday when the company starts to remove verification badges from accounts verified under the company’s old regime.

Reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes also said Friday he won’t pay for Twitter Blue, explaining he has kids to take care of (the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback’s $51.5 million in 2022 earnings made him the fourth-highest paid player in the NFL).

Key Background

An outspoken critic of Twitter’s supposed liberal bias in its content policies, Musk bought the firm for $44 billion last October. Musk immediately took over as Twitter’s CEO and dramatically overhauled the company, firing thousands of employees and quickly rolling out a widely-panned process for paid users to get a verification badge previously reserved for prominent accounts and organizations. The previous verification process was corrupt, Musk asserted last month.


Forbes Valuations

Musk is worth $201 billion, according to Forbeslatest calculations, making him the second-wealthiest person in the world and by far the richest man in the nation. We estimate James to be worth $1 billion, joining Michael Jordan as the only current or retired NBA player to become a billionaire last year.

Crucial Quote

“I’m not buying no apps, I’m not paying for it,” James said in a viral 2017 interview with journalist Rachel Nichols, who reposted the clip in a reply to the NBA star’s Twitter Blue post. James confirmed he’s the “cheapest player in the NBA” despite his $432 million in career on-court earnings in the interview, adding he wouldn’t pay for data roaming or ad-free Pandora.


Several other celebrities say they won’t pay up for a blue check, including actor William Shatner, author Stephen King and rapper Ice T. News organisations including the New York Times and Washington Post also said they would not pay for verification. Musk defended the policy change in a reply Sunday to Shatner, writing there “shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities” to get verified, despite pushback the removal of legacy verified badges could lead to an increase in impersonation and trolling.

This article was first published on forbes.com

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