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Disrespect From LeBron?

May 31st, 2009 | by Dan Levine


In case you missed it, LeBron James left the building quickly last night, without congratulating the Orlando Magic, and without speaking to reporters. He’s being called out by plenty of people, including Doug Smith of the Toronto Star:

“I know defeat stings and failing to meeting expectations has to hurt more than anything you can imagine to a great athlete like LeBron James but the way he handled himself at the end of the game, well, it sucks.

Blowing off the media is one thing – although it’s out of character for him, and he sure seemed to be around every other time anyone ever wanted to talk to him, after wins or losses or at halftime or pre-game.

But to not walk down the court, or even stay on the court to congratulate the Magic? That’s just wrong.

A quick handshake, maybe a quick hug, maybe a word of congratulations to Dwight Howard, a former Olympic teammate. Something.

But nothing? Nothing’s bush league and James is better than that.

I’m sure he’ll get a pass, his teammates were giving him one post-game if you believe the stuff in this story, but we shouldn’t in my opinion.

Yes, you can love his skills and we all do. But no, you cannot excuse the way he handled himself in defeat.

Maybe you do learn more about people in defeat than in victory. ”

I agree that it would be nice to see LeBron face the music. He is front and centre after wins, and he loves to be the centre of attention at any other time. Still, it’s almost refreshing to see an athlete care this much, as opposed to the love-fest we often see on NBA courts these days. I did catch LeBron giving Dwight Howard a subtle low-five late in the game, and I’m sure we will hear from James in the coming days.

The question remains, though – Was LeBron disrespectful? Unsportsmanlike? Neither?

-DL

Smith is here.

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5 Comments

  1. As I’ve said before, sportswriters assume I care about which players make their jobs difficult. I don’t. And they assume that I equate “having character” to “always doing interviews”. I don’t.

  2. furcifer says:

    I actually prefer this to the hugging and kissing that goes on in the NBA. In hockey they kill each other all series so the handshakes at the end make sense. In basketball, while it may make him look a little childish, I prefer it to what I usually see before basketball games where the camaraderie with the opposition is way more

  3. furcifer says:

    (cont’d) evident than other sports.

  4. dan says:

    Furcifer, agreed….I’m sure some will see it as childish, but it sometimes seems like players don’t care…the one thing we know about LeBron is he cares, more than just about anybody…so many players, especially those who become stars right away (Vince Carter), lose their competitive fire early on. LeBron isn’t content to rake in endorsement deals and be a star – He wants to win badly.

  5. DrBOP says:

    I seem to remember another guy who didn’t always stick around after losses…played basketball for some midwest team back in the 80s and 90s…what was his name………oh yeah, MICHAEL JORDAN!!! Good company Lebron!

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