In Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, LeBron James angered the Fox Sports South broadcast team (Pete Pranica and Brevin Knight), and Grizzlies Twitter erupted with an epic and blatant slam in the second quarter.
The MVP forward made two consecutive free throws, helping the Lakers (21-6) overcome a 20-point deficit for the second consecutive game and take a 115-105 lead over the Grizzlies. James had 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
The NBA has certainly endorsed Pranica and Ritter’s outrage. The league has reportedly issued a warning to James (and Kyle Kuzma) for their misconduct on the night of Saturday to Sunday.
LeBron James received a warning from the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rule in this game against the Grizzlies. https://t.co/O3L0wmeKFS
– ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) 13. February 2021
(In case you’re wondering, the NBA’s official bankruptcy policy provides for a warning for the first offense and then increases fines to $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 and $30,000 for each subsequent offense, with a possible sixth suspension).
It’s not the first time in the past calendar year that LeBron James has angered Grizzlies fans with a slam dunk. In March of this year, he responded terribly late to an attempt to denounce Brooks, which earned him praise from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
LeBron with the oscarized flop pic.twitter.com/NS88rkj7QZ
– Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) March 1, 2020
In fact, the story of LeBron James’ failure is rich enough for one of the most dominant physical forces in sports. For example, in 2019, he played a fall down on the ground after a phantom transition foul from Portland Trail Blazers striker Anthony Tolliver.
Terry Stotts challenges the LeBron flop pic.twitter.com/hItZ7EyZYt
– NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) December 29, 2019
Much of LeBron James’ history played out when he was part of the Miami Heat.
In 2013, Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls criticized LeBron James for his play in a red-hot playoff series (pun intended).
From my point of view, I just saw the guy fail, Thibodeau said bluntly after LeBron James’ reaction to Nazr Muhammad’s shove led to the midfielder’s ejection.
You see LeBron (James) in a lot of commercials, a lot of good games, Bulls goalie Nate Robinson said at the time.
MJ would have been injured and would have continued to play, attacker Taj Gibson told Yahoo. It’s old-fashioned basketball.
As I said on Saturday, most athletes in all sports sometimes try to fool the judges to gain an advantage, and that’s understandable. In professional sports, the stakes are incredibly high and every inch, point or lead counts.
At this point, LeBron James was defending the practice from the flop in 2013, when he was the youngest actor (unless you count the tragic shipwreck in 2015).
This is the first year, you can’t settle for failure, said LeBron James, who gave up failure entirely after the league implemented its policy (via Yahoo). Men have been doing this for years, and it’s not even a bad thing. They’re just trying to take advantage. If you can get an edge on your opponent to help your team win, so be it.
To refresh your memory, here are some of LeBron James’ greatest hits:
2010 : He confronts the great Count Barron of Phoenix Sansa and is shot:
First cycle of the 2012 Eastern Conference: LeBron James loses, but wins, chase with New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith.
The 2012 Eastern Conference finals: LeBron James pounces on Danny Granger.
Closing conference 2012 : The flood trap
LeBron James doesn’t play flops as often as he did with the Miami Heat, and the aforementioned offenses have manifested themselves mostly in expensive playoff games. Ironically, then Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel was fined $25,000 for complaining about James’ tactics in the 2012 playoffs.
LeBron James is more mature and optimistic now, and he’s not the great host he used to be. (In that sense, the Grizzlies’ beating since Friday is a setback).
And, in his defense, he’s not a whistleblower like James Harden or Trae Young. At this stage of his career, the veteran is recruiting four or five teams a season – with obvious success. In fact, his problems with officials seem to have only gotten more acute in recent months.
On the other hand, it could be argued that the number of calls LeBron James doesn’t get because of his unique combination of strength, skill and athletic ability far outweighs his flop percentage.
Anyway, we hope his performance will take place during the Space Jam : The new legacy will be even more compelling than Friday at the Staples Center.
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