Basketball isn’t the most popular sport in the world—that title belongs to football (soccer)—but it is definitely up there with the major sports. Even if you aren’t a basketball fan, it is quite likely that you’ve heard about legendary basketball players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal. This alone shows what a big deal basketball is in much of the world. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it also has its own extremely dedicated fandom.
Bored Panda reached out to one such fan, Maso Rich. He has been drawing up cartoonified recreations of LeBron James’ Instagram photos together with his team. However, the recreations feature a small twist… LeBron James himself, as well as basketball players, family members, and others featured in his photos, are depicted as various animals. As the artist’s Instagram tag leraffejames already suggests, LeBron is a giraffe.
Rich started doing LeRaffe James for his own entertainment. “I love creating and producing with the help of my team. I run a different business that is pretty successful so I use some of the spare time and money to fuel my art hobby.”
The inspiration for LeRaffe James was a combination of his own ideas and LeBron himself. “LeBron has been a great person and role model in current times. I got bored and wanted to put together something I thought would be fun.”
Rich is a trained animator and came up with the animal idea years back as an animated pitch for one of his clients. However, it never got its fair chance, so it was revisited with the idea of LeRaffe James.
When asked “Why LeBron?”, Rich said “LeBron helped fuel my love for the sport when I was young. I moved to Los Angeles and eventually LeBron showed up here too. He’s the most influential basketball player ever.”
Apart from LeBron, the artist expanded this idea to include Stephen Curry’s Instagram too, where the famous basketball player is depicted as a puma.
As for other people featured in LeBron’s Instagram, his wife Savannah is depicted as a lioness, son LeBron Jr. and daughter Zhuri are giraffe and lioness appropriately, Willie McGee is an alpaca, Anthony Davis is a kangaroo, Sian Cotton is a bulldog, among many others.