LeBron James 'You Are My Sunshine' meme, explained: What does TikTok trend mean and how did it start? | Sporting News Canada (2024)

LeBron James' NBA career began 16 years before TikTok started to gain worldwide popularity, but the Lakers star has lasted long enough to see himself become a star on the social media platform — just maybe not in the way he expected.

James has gone viral on TikTok in recent weeks, but not directly because of anything he did on the basketball court.Videos of James set to the song, "You Are My Sunshine," are widely circulating, seemingly paying tribute to the NBA legend.

What does the trend actually mean, who is behind them and how did it start?

Here's what you need to know about the viral LeBron James "You Are My Sunshine" meme on TikTok.

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LeBron James 'You Are My Sunshine' meme, explained

The "You Are My Sunshine" meme is a trend of TikTok users posting videos with the song, "You Are My Sunshine," playing over images or video of LeBron James.

@lesunshine_james Lesunshine James is always watching ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️#lebronjames #sunshine #fyp ♬ you are my sunshine - christina perri

The trend originated in early 2023 as a way of mocking some of the most passionate fans of James. Super-fans of the Lakers star long preceded TikTok, as James has had no shortage of ardent supporters and defenders throughout his iconic career. James also has no shortage of detractors who regularly mock the way his super-fans defend him.

By swooning over James to the point that it's obviously satirical, many users who post "You Are My Sunshine" videos are mocking just how passionate James' biggest fans can be.

The LeBron tiktok lore with the sunshine song is all over my fyp with different variations of him😭

— ²³𝙻𝚎𝙱𝚛𝚘𝚗𝚌𝚑𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚜🏀☄️🌎💞 (@BronGotGame) March 24, 2024

The meme has already evolved into different variations of James, including parodies of what was already a parody, and that includes "LeEvil James."

The trend took on new life when the Brooklyn Nets' official TikTok account posted a video of James warming up at the Barclays Center with the sound of a crowd singing "You Are My Sunshine" and a text overlay that reads "Why is everyone singing this song."

@brooklynnets Obviously for Cam Thomas #youaremysunshine #brooklynnets #meme ♬ original sound - cc.morant ®

The 15-second video, which pans back and forth from James to the Nets, also features the caption "Obviously for Cam Thomas," poking fun at the meme.

'Boy oh boy, LeBron' meaning

Videos aren't the only way users get their point across as part of this viral trend.

The videos often feature captions ironically professing love for James, often starting with some variation of, "Boy oh boy, LeBron, where do I even begin."

The caption is intended to add to the theme of mocking fans who might take their defense of James a bit too far, swooning over the Lakers star in a way that makes it clear the video is satirical.

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How LeBron James 'You Are My Sunshine' meme started

While the meme is going viral in 2024, the trend actually started in January 2023, according to Know Your Meme. It isn't known which user launched the trend — if it can even be traced back to one video — but the dynamic between James detractors and James supporters has existed throughout his 21-year NBA career.

Arguably no NBA star has as many haters as James, and it can be argued that no NBA star has as many passionate fans, either. That simply comes with the territory of being a world-famous athlete and one of the greatest players in a sport's history. James' biggest detractors often see his fans' support as being a bit over the top, and the meme simply emphasizes the hilarity of how passionate fans of James can be.

At the same time, trends evolve quickly. It's not far-fetched to imagine some actual fans of James might be getting in on the fun and posting "You Are My Sunshine" videos of their own just to be part of the meme.

LeBron James 'You Are My Sunshine' meme song

The song attached to most of the James memes is "You Are My Sunshine" by Christina Perri.

Perri's rendition is just one version of "You Are My Sunshine," which was originally released in 1940 and has been featured in everything from commercials and movies to TV shows over the years.

Quite literally, users are referring to James as their "sunshine" with their use of the song. The song simply expresses love for a person, and proponents of the meme are ironically professing love for James in a way that pokes fun at some of his most passionate defenders.

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
You'll never know, dear
How much I love you
Please don't take
My sunshine away

The other night, dear
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you
In my arms
When I awoke, dear
I was mistaken
So I hung my head and cried

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
You'll never know, dear
How much I love you
Please don't take
My sunshine away

LeBron James 'You Are My Sunshine' meme, explained: What does TikTok trend mean and how did it start? | Sporting News Canada (2024)

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