LeBron James looked uncomfortable throughout most of the Miami Heat’s 111-87 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. The protective mask he has been wearing may have finally started to bother him, as LeBron shot 6-for-18 from the floor and scored *just* 19 points. He ditched the mask in the first quarter, and the night didn’t improve much from there.
“I don’t like it,” James said after the game, via the NY Post. “It’s that simple; just got frustrated with it early on so I took it off. It didn’t help me, taking it off. It’s probably a game-to-game thing.”
LeBron was wearing the protective mask earlier this week when he dropped a career-high 61 points on the Charlotte Bobcats, so that must not have been the issue. How about those short-sleeved “El Heat” jerseys that Miami had to wear?
“I’m not making any excuses, but I’m not a big fan of the jerseys,” LeBron said. “So I have to figure something out next time I have to wear the short-sleeve jerseys. Every time I shoot, it feels like it’s just pulling right up underneath my arm. I already don’t have much room for error on my jump shot anyways, so it’s definitely not a good thing.”
The bottom line is professional athletes like things a certain way. When you shoot thousands of jump shots each year in the same jersey, a slight change can make a difference. LeBron said he wasn’t making excuses, but that’s exactly what he was doing.