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#pounditFriday, February 26, 2021

Articles tagged: LeBron James

Giannis Antetokounmpo beats out LeBron to win second straight MVP award

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The NBA is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s league and LeBron James is just playing in it — at least according to the 2020 MVP voting.

Antetokounmpo has been named MVP of the NBA for a second consecutive year. He received 85 first-place votes compared to LeBron’s 16. Giannis had a total of 962 points, which was slightly more than the 941 he got last year when beating out James Harden. Antetokounmpo and LeBron were the only players to receive first-place votes.

Here are the full results:

The vast majority of voters felt that Giannis was once again the best player in the NBA, and it’s hard to argue with that. The Milwaukee Bucks star averaged a career-high 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds per game this season. He also had 5.6 assists per game. LeBron had 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 10.2 assists per game.

We know at least one of LeBron’s teammates who is not going to be happy about the voting results, but they were hardly a surprise.

Vanessa Bryant responds to LA Sheriff’s challenge for LeBron James

Vanessa Bryant

Vanessa Bryant responded via Instagram to a challenge issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff.

On Monday, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva challenged LeBron James to match a reward for the gunman who shot two Los Angeles police officers on Saturday.

Bryant decided to issue some criticism at Villanueva, sharing screenshots of tweets that were critical of the sheriff.

Bryant has filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s department over officers sharing photos of the helicopter crash site where her late husband Kobe and daughter Gianna died.

Despite her criticism of the sheriff’s department, she did include one positive message.

“Not all deputies are bad apples. Prayers for the 2 deputies that were shot,” she wrote.

In addition to her lawsuit against the sheriff’s department, Bryant is suing the helicopter company for wrongful death.

LA sheriff challenges LeBron James over gunman who shot police officers

LeBron James

LeBron James has been active in his pursuit of social justice, and now a sheriff is asking for James’ help in seeking justice for two police officers.

Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were ambushed and shot by a gunman on Saturday night in Compton, Calif. The gunman approached the police car without provocation and shot the officers from close range, video shows. The officers underwent surgery on Saturday and were listed in critical condition.

Authorities on Sunday announced a $100,000 reward in connection with the manhunt.

In an interview on KABC in Los Angeles Monday, Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva challenged James to match the reward.

“I want to make a challenge. This challenge is to LeBron James,” Villanueva said. “I want you to match that and double that reward because I know you care about law enforcement.

“You expressed a very interesting statement on race relations and officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community and I appreciate that, but likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across professions, races, creeds, and I’d like to see LeBron James step up to the plate and double that.”

Thanks to extra private pledges, the amount of the reward is up to $175,000.

“I’ll be very curious to see what his response is, if any,” Villanueva said of James.

James is in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. along with his Los Angeles Lakers, who are awaiting the winner of the Denver Nuggets-Los Angeles Clippers series in the Western Conference Final.

Kyle Kuzma has warning for media over NBA MVP Award

Kyle Kuzma

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is not impressed so far with the NBA’s award winners.

Kuzma had a warning for the media about the NBA MVP vote, suggesting that if LeBron James doesn’t win, there will be issues.

Kuzma clearly feels that Anthony Davis should have won Defensive Player of the Year, but he lost out to Giannis Antetokounmpo. The same might take place with the MVP award, with Antetokounmpo likely to beat James for the trophy.

Kuzma is backing a teammate. We know that. Giannis is also a star who was the unquestioned leader of the Bucks as they led the Eastern Conference. The Bucks star averaged a career-high 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 1.4 three-pointers made per game, outpacing James in every statistical category except assists. The Bucks also had a better record than the Lakers.

Yes, their playoff run was a huge disappointment, but MVP is a regular season award.

There are some voters backing LeBron for MVP, but their reasons are controversial. Kuzma is probably going to be left disappointed again.

LeBron James takes blame for too many turnovers in Game 1 loss

LeBron James

LeBron James took blame for committing too many turnovers in the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 1 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The Lakers lost to the Rockets 112-97 to fall behind 1-0 in their Western Conference semifinals series. James had just 20 points in 37 minutes and was a -15. He committed four turnovers in the game, which tied Rajon Rondo for the most on the team.

“We can’t turn the ball over like that. That starts with myself,” James said after the game, via Mark Medina.

Not only did James have the turnovers, but Rondo was rusty in his first game action since March. He was 3/9 shooting for eight points.

James also went scoreless in the entire fourth quarter.

This Rockets team is a tough squad to contend with. They play a fast, small lineup and create turnovers, while shooting a ton of threes and getting James Harden to the free throw line. The Lakers will have to make adjustments to keep up with Houston’s speed.

Game 2 between the teams is scheduled for Sunday. Harden already shared what he thinks will be key for Houston moving forward.

Did LeBron James take subtle shot at Astros before series against Rockets?

LeBron James

LeBron James’ attire ahead of Game 1 of his team’s playoff series against the Houston Rockets may not have been entirely coincidental.

The Los Angeles Lakers star wore a Los Angeles Dodgers cap prior to Friday’s series opener. The team posted an image of James’ fit to Twitter.

True, James could have just been wearing the cap for the fashion or to show support for his city’s baseball team. But with James about to begin a series against the Rockets, the cap very well might have been a subtle dig at the Houston Astros, who cheated the Dodgers out of the 2017 World Series.

Keep in mind that James tweeted a scathing reaction to the Astros’ cheating scandal back in February. His media company, Uninterrupted, is also producing a documentary series about the saga.

Granted, James was not yet a Laker when the Astros-Dodgers World Series took place. He has also openly rooted for other MLB teams before. Still, the timing here simply seems to good to be completely coincidental.

LeBron James rips Jay Williams for bringing him into debate about Giannis

LeBron James

Former NBA player Richard Jefferson compared Giannis Antetokounmpo to Scottie Pippen on Wednesday night, and the ensuing commentary has spiraled a bit out of control.

With the Milwaukee Bucks losing the first two games of their series against the Miami Heat, Jefferson wondered out loud if Antetokounmpo might be unable to win an NBA title without a superstar teammate. Jefferson said that, like Scottie Pippen, Giannis may need a Michael Jordan.

Not surprisingly, Pippen disagreed with the comparison. He complimented Antetokounmpo for being an NBA MVP and said the two are their own players. He then took a shot at Jefferson. To Jefferson’s credit, he took the swipe in stride.

It didn’t end there. Former NBA point guard Jay Williams also got involved, saying there would be nothing wrong with Giannis needing another superstar to win a championship. Williams pointed out that LeBron James never won a ring until he teamed up with Dwyane Wade.

LeBron didn’t appreciate being dragged into the debate. We edited his response for profanity.

“Explain to me what the f— I gotta do with this subject matter! I’m over here minding my damn business preparing for Houston,” LeBron wrote. “And by the way I ain’t never been nobody but my damn self! S—!”

It seems like LeBron took that a bit personally, because Williams was obviously just trying to stick up for Giannis. If LeBron’s recent remarks about the NBA bubble are any indication, he’s probably feeling a bit more stressed than usual lately.

LeBron James says he often thinks about leaving bubble

LeBron James

The NBA’s bubble environment can be difficult for all of its participants, even The King.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James told reporters this weekend that he often thinks about leaving the bubble.

“I’ve had numerous nights and days thinking about leaving the bubble,” said James, according to Ben Golliver of the Washington Post. “I think everyone has, including you [media] guys. I don’t think, it’s not one person that has not had a mind that says, ‘I’ve gotta get the hell out of here.’ … It probably crosses my mind about once a day.”

James is coming from a very understandable and a very human standpoint. The NBA bubble is now at its 50th day, and that is more than enough to give anyone cabin fever. It must be especially so with everything going on in the world right now and with the participants away from their families.

Another star has openly discussed his struggles in the bubble environment too. Families and other limited guests will be allowed to visit starting in the second round though, so hopefully that offers some sense of normalcy.

LeBron James mocked over his receding hair

LeBron James hair

LeBron James has been battling opponents on the court for decades and fighting off the hair gods the last several years as well.

Fans and observers have noticed for years that James has a receding hairline that he continues to cover up. On Saturday, James’ hair looked especially thin in spots, and viewers were all over it with the memes, commenting on the shape it yielded.

James knows all about his hair struggle and has poked fun at himself for it over the years.

Charles Barkley has long urged James to “come on home” and embrace baldness with a shaved head, but the 35-year-old Los Angeles Laker continues to fight the good fight.

Report: LeBron James spoke with President Obama for advice

LeBron James

LeBron James spoke with President Obama for advice this week, according to a report.

James walked out of the meeting between NBA players on Wednesday night and spoke with the former U.S. president. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Obama advised the players to play. Chris Paul and a few others who joined James on the call reportedly hoped to have Obama involved in their committee for player action.

According to Charania, James supported the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision not to play on Wednesday, but he wanted to know what the plan and outcome was.

After Wednesday’s day of games being canceled due to the players striking, NBA players met on Thursday. The players agreed to continue playing, and the playoff schedule will resume on Saturday. James reportedly was silent during that meeting.

A separate report says younger players and owners were turned off by James, who spoke at the end of Thursday’s meeting.

James’ Lakers lead their first-round playoff series 3-1 against the Portland Trail Blazers. Game 5 is scheduled to be played on Saturday.