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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

Articles tagged: LeBron James

LeBron James explains why he ducked media after recent loss

LeBron James yells during a game

LeBron James is explaining why he snuck out the back door instead of speaking to the media after his team’s most recent loss.

The Los Angeles Lakers got smoked by the Denver Nuggets on the weekend, losing in a 133-96 blowout. James left without doing a postgame press conference, which is a rare occurrence for him.

On Monday, James explained why he did not stick around for reporters.

“I didn’t like what was going to come out of my mouth,” the former MVP said, per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll. “I understand that things that I say can be everywhere, so I didn’t want to do that to my teammates at that point in time.”

James is known for handling losing poorly. It sounds like he stopped himself before saying something that he would regret, such as potentially throwing his teammates under the bus.

The Lakers responded to the thrashing by Denver with their best win of the season, beating the Utah Jazz on Monday 101-95. But the team remains .500 on the year, and there are signs that they are still skating on very thin ice.

Photo: Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James apologizes to Lakers fans after blowout loss

LeBron James warming up

LeBron James apologized on Sunday night as his Los Angeles Lakers have received criticism for their poor play.

The Lakers were blown out on Saturday at Denver 133-96. The blowout loss led to criticism from notable former Lakers star player and executive, Magic Johnson.

Russell Westbrook was among those who was asked about Johnson’s comments.

James may have felt compelled to respond too.

LeBron sent an apology note to the team’s fans:

“#LakerNation I apologize and I promise we’ll be better!” James wrote.

The loss marked the Lakers’ third in a row and dropped them below .500 for the season. That’s not anything near what the fans and organization expects from the team.

The apology is a somewhat thoughtful gesture, but the fans want to see wins, not tweets. Usually an apology at this point in a season is not a very good sign.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Photo: Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-LeBron James teammate rips Lakers for their performance

LeBron James yells during a game

The 2021-22 L.A. Lakers look like one of the worst LeBron James-led teams in recent memory. One of James’ old teammates seems to think so too.

The Lakers had yet another candidate for “worst loss of the season” over the weekend, getting blown out by the Denver Nuggets 133-96. After the game, former NBA big man Channing Frye, now an analyst for NBATV, had harsh words for the Lakers.

“It’s hard to be that bad,” said Frye. “This score? They should’ve got beat by 50. The Lakers, this game alone, were so undisciplined. They were double-teaming for no reason. They were not rotating. Guys weren’t communicating. They were making poor decisions.

“I’ve seen some bad basketball,” he added. “This is probably one of the worst games I’ve seen from a team that has good players on it. The communication between the players wasn’t good. The body language was bad … There was no passion and energy from the Lakers this game, which I find upsetting as a basketball player because this is an opportunity to get better and compete.”

Frye played with James on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2016 to 2018. That included making two Finals appearances together and winning it all in 2016.

Now over halfway into the regular season, the Lakers are still under .500. They have also given up an appalling 120.0 points per game in January.

While the Lakers are an old team, including James himself, who is now 37, it is rare to see a squad led by the former MVP playing this poorly for this long. Frye is not the only ex-James teammate wondering what is going on here.

H/T NBA Reddit

Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James doubles down on criticism of Wizards announcer despite apology

LeBron James yells during a game

LeBron James is not coming off his stance on Washington Wizards announcer Glenn Consor at all.

Consor, who was calling the Wizards’ game against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, used some unfortunate language after Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. hit a game-winning shot.

“Kevin Porter Jr., like his dad, pulled that trigger right at the right time,” said Consor.

Porter Jr’s father, Bryan Kevin Porter Sr., served four-and-a-half years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of a 14-year-old girl in 1993. Porter Sr. then died in 2004 after being shot five times during a bar fight in Seattle, Wash. Porter Jr. was just four years old at the time of his father’s death.

The Los Angeles Lakers star James unloaded on Consor for the comment, tweeting an angry message on Thursday morning.

Consor went on to apologize for his choice of words, saying that he thought Porter Jr. was the son of Kevin Porter Sr., a former NBA guard who played for Washington in the 1970s and 1980s. Consor added that he had reached out to Porter Jr. personally and hoped to speak with him soon.

Indeed, many initially thought that Consor simply made a very unfortunate but honest mistake. Kevin Porter Sr. was a notable player for Washington, leading the NBA in assists four different times. Thus, it makes sense that a Wizards announcer would have had him in mind. Additionally, the franchise was known as the Bullets back when Kevin Porter Sr. played for them, which may have given subconscious rise to Consor’s “pulled that trigger” language.

But despite these plausible alternative explanations (as well as Consor’s own apology), James doubled down on his tweet in a media session on Thursday. The four-time MVP was aware of Consor’s apology at this point.

“I stand by my tweet,” said James, per Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation. “I stand by everything I said. So, let’s just say, he thought that was the case. So, we get scouting reports on players, and I know you guys from the media, y’all get memos and stuff for players and stuff before the game, right? Y’all get like packets of stuff when y’all come to the game and what’s going on and game play. And I believe that – I’m not a play-by-play person, analyst – but I believe that they do their due diligence as well when they get their reports on teams that they’re about to play as well as their own team, right?

“So, I was actually watching the game live last night when I heard, and I waited,” James continued. “I didn’t do it right away, as you see with my tweet. I was watching the game. So, if that’s the case, if I am a play-by-play announcer, right, and I’m covering a team – my local team – in his case he’s covering the Wizards. So he remembers the Kevin Porter who used to play for the [Washington] Bullets, correct? The first thing I would have done, I would have said, ‘Oh, Kevin Porter Jr. is coming into town. Let me see if that’s his son.’ I would’ve did that due diligence way before, and I think everyone on this call would have did the same thing. Tell me, am I wrong?”

For what it is worth, Consor is not a regular TV announcer for the Wizards, nor is he a play-by-play guy. He filled in Wednesday for color commentator Drew Gooden alongside play-by-play announcer Justin Kutcher.

Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic added that James actually spoke to reporters for over seven minutes on the subject. James also said that “Kevin Porter Jr. looks up to me, and it is my obligation to make sure that he knows that I have his back.”

Considering both the context and Consor’s apology, it seems like he deserves the benefit of the doubt here. But James was quick to make initial judgment, which he has done before, and is now digging in further on his position.

H/T Lakers Daily

Photo: Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James unloads on Wizards announcer over honest Kevin Porter mistake

LeBron James warming up

Longtime Washington Wizards broadcaster Glenn Consor made a very unfortunate mistake when calling the team’s game against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, but LeBron James didn’t wait for an explanation before blasting the announcer.

Consor unknowingly had a poor choice of words while praising Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. for a game-winning buzzer-beater against the Wizards. He said that Porter “like his dad, pulled that trigger at the right time.” Porter’s father, Bryan Kevin Porter Sr., pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the shooting of a 14-year-old girl in 1993 and was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison. He was then shot and killed in 2004. Porter was 4 years old at the time of his father’s death.

Most people suspected Consor had made an honest mistake, as it is impossible to believe he would be that ruthless. LeBron, however, did not give Consor the benefit of the doubt.

Consor issued an apology on Thursday. He explained, not surprisingly, that he mistakenly thought Porter Jr. was the son of former NBA player Kevin Porter, who played for Washington in the 1970s and 1980s. That’s the only reason Consor said “like his father.” He was in no way referring to an actual gun.

James totally overreacted without knowing the entire story, which is something he has done on social media in the past. He should have used some basic common sense and known that Consor would not knowingly mock Porter Jr. on live television over his father being a convicted murderer/and or being shot and killed. Reasonable people knew there was another explanation, and there was. Consor’s only mistake was not knowing enough about Porter Jr.’s background, which hardly seems like a fireable offense.

LeBron was reminded with his recent COVID meme how much influence he has on social media. In this case, he should have been more mindful of that.

Photo: Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James had bowl game bet with former Lakers teammate

LeBron James yells during a game

LeBron James got the better of one of his former teammates during college bowl season this year.

The Los Angeles Lakers star had a bet going with ex-Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma on the Ohio State-Utah matchup in the Rose Bowl on Saturday. The Utes got out to a 7-0 lead, leading Kuzma to flex a bit on James.

Unfortunately for Kuzma though, Ohio State ending up pulling out the 48-45 victory in one of the most entertaining Rose Bowl games in years. James asked Kuzma how Kuzma would like to send over the money.

Kuzma then joked that James was kicking him while he was down.

The Washington Wizards forward Kuzma, who was teammates with James on the Lakers for the previous three seasons, attended college at Utah. On the flip side, James is a native of Ohio as well as a big Buckeyes enthusiast.

While he was victorious on Saturday, betting on Ohio State has not always worked out so well for James. A few years ago, he ended up losing a bet on the Buckeyes to another fellow NBA player.

Photo: Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James reacts to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism

LeBron James yells during a game

LeBron James is offering his reaction to the shots that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently took at him.

The Los Angeles Lakers star James sparked debate last week by posting a meme comparing COVID-19 to the flu and the common cold. Abdul-Jabbar ripped James for doing so, explaining why he thought it was a harmful post.

After the Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, James was asked if he had any response to Abdul-Jabbar.

“No I don’t have a response to Kareem at all,” he said, per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll. “And if you saw the post and you read the tag, you know I’m literally, honestly asking, ‘help me out.’ Help me kind of figure it all out, like we’re all trying to figure this pandemic out. We’re all trying to figure out COVID and the new strain. And the flu, I think people forgot about the flu.

“People like literally forgot about the flu, like that’s still going around,” James went on. “It’s flu season, so people have forgot about the flu. People have forgot about common colds. That happens, especially with a lot of our kids that’s in school. My daughter is in first grade, so a lot of these kids are gettting common colds and getting the flu. But no, I don’t have any response to Kareem. No. At all.”

Like most NBA teams this season, the Lakers have faced a number of recent absences due to health and safety protocols. James was also angered with the situation when he himself landed in protocols earlier this month.

James is maintaining that he was simply trying to gather more information when he sent the post to his 106 million followers on Instagram, especially with much still unknown about the seemingly milder Omicron variant. But that is unlikely to be a satisfactory explanation for Abdul-Jabbar, who also recently criticized James for a different reason.

Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Metta Sandiford-Artest has funny response to LeBron’s recruiting pitch

Metta World Peace

The Los Angeles Lakers have had their depth tested this season due to a combination of injuries and COVID-19 protocols.

Following his triple-double in Tuesday night’s win over the Houston Rockets, LeBron spoke with Spectrum SportsNet about the ways the Lakers are trying to overcome being so shorthanded. Metta Sandiford-Arest — formerly known as Ron Artest and then Metta World Peace — was part of the Spectrum studio crew. One host joked that Sandiford-Artest might need to sign a 10-day contract to help the Lakers out, and LeBron agreed.

“Metta, stay ready. We may need your a–, man,” LeBron said.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Metta apparently is not in game shape. He later joked on Twitter that the most he can do is a 10-minute contract.

Sandiford-Artest is 42. He hasn’t played in the NBA since he was with the Lakers in 2017. Some would say he’d be a perfect fit for the Lakers, who have been the punchline of old age jokes for quite some time now.

Even with teams in desperate need of roster help, we doubt Metta will be suiting up this season. Though, LeBron does have a history of recruiting him.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James shares thoughts on when he will retire

LeBron James warming up

LeBron James is still playing at a very high level, so the idea of him retiring in the near future is something most fans have not thought about. The four-time MVP hasn’t given it much thought, either.

LeBron will turn 37 on Thursday. After he recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, he was asked if he has any idea how much longer he might play. He acknowledged that he is “on the other side of the hill” in his career, but James said he hasn’t thought much about retirement because he’s playing at such a high level.

“I’m still playing at such a high level, I haven’t given it too much thought,” James said, via Michael Corvo of Clutch Points. “But I’m in Year 19 and I’m not gonna do another 19. So I’m definitely not halfway in my career. I’m on the other side of the hill. So, we’ll see where the game takes me. We’ll see where my body takes me and my mind. As long as my mind stays fresh and my body stays with that, I can play the game. But, in the end, the game will tell you. Your body will tell you. Your mind will tell you.”

You can read the full quote below:

LeBron’s take on retiring sounds very similar to Tom Brady’s. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers star has said for years that he will retire when he feels he can no longer play at a high level.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been disappointing this season, but LeBron is averaging 27.6 points per game. While he has battled injuries in recent years, he’s clearly still one of the best players in the NBA. Some even think he has one more career stop to make before hanging it up.

As long as he avoids major injuries, it would not be a surprise for LeBron to play until he’s 40. He could also play long enough to leave open the possibility of teaming up with his son, who is 17. For now, LeBron isn’t going anywhere.

Photo: Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rips LeBron James over COVID meme

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar smiles

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has taken aim at LeBron James once again.

The former Los Angeles Lakers star was critical of the current Lakers star in a post on his Substack account on Sunday.

Kareem took issue with the meme James posted on Instagram on Thursday. The meme makes the point that COVID, the flu and a cold are all the same (see it here).

Abdul-Jabbar argued that the post was a “blow to [James’] worthy legacy.”

Abdul-Jabbar also argued that James’ post encourages vaccine hesitancy.

“By posting the uninformed meme, LeBron has encouraged vaccine hesitancy which puts lives and livelihoods at risk,” Jabbar wrote.

You can read his whole post here.

Though Kareem makes a strong case, he is off base on many accounts. I would dispute his argument that James is causing or contributing to vaccine hesitancy. The vaccine has been available in some capacity in America for a year and has been readily available to the American public for over half a year. Anyone who has wanted the vaccine has not only had ample opportunity to get it, but they have had access to a booster too by now. Those who have not been vaccinated have already made a conscious decision not to, and a meme posted by LeBron is unlikely to change that.

Also, James’ meme was likely talking about the Omicron variant. His post would have been more accurate had it said “Omicron” instead of “COVID.” The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has presented itself as a cold for many people. Many of the athletes who have tested positive for Omicron also have had no symptoms or mild symptoms.

To behave as if the current version of COVID is the same as the original strains in 2020 or the Delta variant makes little sense. Canceling games and shutting down seasons over asymptomatic cases, and among people who wouldn’t even know they were positive if they hadn’t been tested, makes little sense.

We’re nearly in 2022 and the circumstances have completely changed from 20 months ago. More therapies are available, people have had opportunities to receive a shot that lessens symptoms if they are infected, and the current strain is proving to be less potent than previous strains. It’s time to adjust accordingly, and James’ post seems to reflect that attitude.

What’s notable is that this is the second time this month Kareem has been critical of LeBron.

Photo: Jul 18, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives for the 2018 ESPYS at Microsoft Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports