Why Did Rihanna Tag LeBron in This Instagram Bikini Shot?

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Photo: Ezra Shaw

The Cleveland Cavaliers took a 2–0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday night by knocking off the Toronto Raptors by 25 points, the same fat margin they won by in game one. Not long after the game’s final whistle, a picture showed up on Rihanna’s Instagram that’s now inspiring a Zapruder-film level of dissection.

Let’s break this down. There’s Rihanna in a bikini top and sunglasses. On her stomach, in what looks to be sunscreen, is the number 23. That’s LeBron James’s number, and in case there was any doubt about what she was doing, she tagged him in the picture too. The caption on the photo reads, “mood.”

What could it mean? One boring theory is that Rihanna is just celebrating LeBron’s big game. These two are friends, after all, so the picture may simply represent what one friend does when the other puts up a triple double in 34 minutes.

A more diabolical rationale, and one that’s gaining traction among NBA conspiracy theorists, is that Rihanna is part of a grand plan to sow discord in LeBron’s home life and distract him from the court.

Why would she do that? Because, the theory goes, she and Drake are dating, as some have recently speculated, and Drake is the Raptors’ unofficial mascot. So in that sense, the picture may be part of a diabolical plan to throw LeBron off his game. Not only is it a fiendishly clever way to fill the forward’s head with notions that have nothing to do with basketball, but it might well get him into trouble with the missus.

Remember how Rihanna was overheard screaming LeBron’s name outside of the Cavs locker room during the Finals last year? And how she reportedly flew on his private jet? And how that led to rumors that they were doing it? Bet LeBron’s wife, Savannah Brinson, remembers. And so, if the plan works, maybe she’ll banish him to the couch, in which case he’ll wake up with a wicked charley horse that lingers all day and throws off his game tomorrow.

Whatever her intention, Rihanna’s use of sunscreen is to be commended. Summer’s coming, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.