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Friday, May 29, 2020

Articles tagged: LeBron James

LeBron James does not think NBA should begin playoffs right away

LeBron James

The NBA is still figuring out how to complete the rest of the season whenever play can resume, but LeBron James has his opinion on what they should do.

Appearing this week on Uninterrupted’s “Road Trippin’ Podcast” with former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, the four-time MVP said that he was against going right into the postseason.

“One thing you can’t just do is go straight to the playoffs,” said James, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position.”

One possible scenario mentioned by James was a truncated regular-season finale of five to ten games before the playoff bracket were to begin. He also mention his concern about the sudden layoff negatively affecting his body.

“When you’ve been building six months of conditioning and preparation and then [it’s gone], the narrative that I don’t like [is], ‘Well, now guys get so much rest.’ Or, like, ‘LeBron, he’s 35, he’s got so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest,'” James added. “It’s actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ My body was like, ‘Hey man, what the hell is going on? It’s March 13th, you’re getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?’ And I was right there turning the corner, like, I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason. So the rest factor, I think it’s a little bit [overblown]. Especially when you’re in the full swing of things.”

In one small bit of unrelated good news, the 16-time All-Star did mention that his film “Space Jam 2” was still on schedule despite prevalent postponements in the movie industry due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“[It] has always been scheduled to come out in June of 2021. So we’re kind of [OK],” James said. “And a lot of it right now is animation, so being indoors is actually great for us. So we’re still on. Just like everything in the world, [it] is slowed down a little bit, but we’re still on target. I’m looking forward to it. During this time right now, I wish we could release it right now, man, and give people some things to watch in their households. But we got until next year, next summer. We’re excited about it.”

On the topic of the remainder of the 2019-20 season though, both owners and players seem to be united in their desire to salvage it. James, who is especially affected as the leader of the No. 1 seed in the West in a year that represents one of his last shots at winning an NBA title, underscores the point though that a solution has to make sense both equitably and practically for all.

From LeBron James to Chris Paul: The 3 best storylines of the NBA season

Chris Paul

The NBA is facing an unprecedented level of uncertainty, as is most of society. The league is thinking about resuming at some point in the future, or skipping ahead to playoff games. Rather than project timetables for when NBA action could return, or sulk in the disappointment of a conceivably lost season, it is paramount to celebrate the terrific season that was unfolding.

Here are three of the most intriguing stories from around the league that have us all anxiously awaiting the return of the NBA.

The dominance of the “Washed King”

It seems unimaginable that after nine NBA Finals appearances, 34,807 points, three championships, four MVP awards, and a “regrown” hairline that anyone would doubt LeBron James. And yet, last season, after James failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons, the rhetoric of James being a “washed king” began to circulate. When James’ adversaries for the “unofficial best player in the world” title sensed a vulnerability, they attempted a basketball coup d’ é·tat. Both Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is the favorite to take home back-to-back MVP awards, and Kawhi Leonard, have both made substantial claims.

James, for his part, is unwilling to concede the throne. In two different matchups that saw James go head-to-head with his most prominent competitors for basketball supremacy, the King walked away victorious, with the crown still in his possession.

While it is excessive to place an extensive amount of importance on one regular-season game, this is not a new development; James has been on a mission since the start of the season. James is leading the NBA in assists for the first time in his storied career and has the Lakers atop of the Western Conference standings.

While it is easy to marvel at the individual numbers and accolades that James has put up over the years, his durability is sometimes forgotten. As the miles on his body continue to pile up, James shows no signs of slowing down. Antetokounmpo or Leonard may have their day soon, but for now, LeBron James remains the “King” of basketball royalty.

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LeBron James changes stance on playing NBA games without fans

LeBron James

LeBron James has re-thought his stance on potentially playing NBA games without fans due to the coronavirus.

James had previously said he would not play in games without fans. On Tuesday, he admitted that he wasn’t aware of the behind-the-scenes discussions that were taking place when he was originally asked. He said he would be “disappointed” if it came to that, but added that he would abide by expert guidance once a decision is made.

The chances of games taking place behind closed doors appear to be increasing as the virus continues to spread. James’s conclusion was always going to be likely. The league may have little choice once mandates are handed down by local, state, or federal officials, and those mandates may be coming sooner rather than later.

Stephon Marbury: LeBron not a ‘real Laker,’ doesn’t need to carry out Kobe’s legacy

LeBron James

Kobe Bryant has received a lot of love from LeBron James and other sports icons since the five-time NBA champion tragically died in a helicopter crash back in January, but Stephon Marbury seems to feel that some of the nice things that have been said about Kobe are disingenuous.

Marbury was a guest on Complex’s “Load Management” podcast recently, and he vented about people who “hated Kobe” now showering the Los Angeles Lakers legend in praise. Marbury also criticized LeBron James and others who have said they are going to carry out Kobe’s legacy. The former New York Knick said Bryant’s legacy is already established and that LeBron doesn’t need to continue it because he is “not no real Laker.”

“You don’t need to go and get guys like LeBron to go speak and talk about what they’re going to carry and all that,” Marbury said. “He doesn’t need you to carry his legacy. His legacy is his legacy. Carry your own legacy. Keep you poppin’ and going. You’re not no real Laker.”

Marbury added that he feels a special bond with Kobe because he played against him and was part of the same historically good 1996 NBA Draft class.

“So when you hear these guys saying this type of stuff and doing these types of things, I’m wondering what is it for,” Marbury said. “Is it for show or is it for real life?”

It’s unclear which players Marbury is referring to that hated Kobe, but LeBron should not be one of them. All indications are that Kobe and LeBron had strengthened their relationship after James signed with the Lakers, and LeBron was one of the last people Kobe spoke to before he died. Marbury seems like he is just trying to stir up controversy.

Anthony Davis argues LeBron James is NBA MVP

LeBron James

Giannis Antetokounmpo seems like a lock to win this year’s NBA MVP, but LeBron James put together a weekend that has his teammates thinking he deserves the honor. At least Anthony Davis said so and made a compelling case on Sunday.

James scored 37 points with 8 rebounds and 8 assists in Friday’s 10-point win over Milwaukee. Then he scored 28 points in Sunday’s 9-point win over the LA Clippers. Two games before that, he had a triple-double in a win over the Pelicans where he went head-to-head with Zion Williamson.

The Lakers’ recent strong play has them looking like the favorite to win the NBA championship if they keep it up, and has Davis saying James deserves MVP.

“At 35, what this [expletive] is doing is incredible. He is the MVP,” Davis told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes. “That’s no disrespect to that [expletive] in Milwaukee. Giannis is having a hell of a year, but if you think about what the most valuable player means, that’s ’Bron to us. Look at our numbers when he’s off the floor. He’s the MVP.”

The regular season MVP argument is different from the “still the best player in the league when he wants to be” argument. Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per game this season on 54.7 percent shooting. Comparatively, James is averaging 25.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and a league-high 10.7 assists per game. His surging Lakers are now 49-13 and closing in on the 53-11 Bucks for the best record in the league.

Giannis is still the MVP, but if James plays this well over the next three months, he’ll end up with the most coveted trophy — a championship.

Patrick Beverley thinks defending LeBron James is ‘no challenge’

Patrick Beverley

Is it hard to guard LeBron James? Patrick Beverley doesn’t think so.

The Los Angeles Clippers guard was on the wrong end of a 28-point James performance on Sunday, but he was not moved after the game. His only response to whether it was hard to guard James? “No challenge” and it’s “not hard at all.”

Beverley is one of the NBA’s most confident players. He has also demonstrated an ability to stop James before. Ultimately, though, that’s just not quite how it went during Sunday’s game. James got the better of Beverley and the Clippers, and even got crowned at the end.

Video: Kyle Kuzma puts crown on LeBron James after win over Clippers

LeBron James is still the King.

James put together an exemplary performance against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, scoring 28 points in a comeback victory. That was enough for teammate Kyle Kuzma to crown his teammate in victory.

It may be a response to a recent ad depicting Kawhi Leonard’s “reign” over Los Angeles. Either way, message sent.

The crown has certainly become an ongoing feature in recent weeks. We saw Giannis Antetokounmpo do it in response to James a few months ago. It’s safe to say, however, that James isn’t letting that crown go easily, and it is probably going to set up a very interesting set of playoff matchups in the months to come.