I just wanted to go on record and say I fully support NBA Commissioner David Stern’s stance on this subject. What LeBron did demonstrated bad sportsmanship and made both the Cavs and the NBA as a whole look bad. When the face of a franchise and/or a league commits such a petulant act, there are bound to be consequences. The most obvious being (you guessed it) how his actions affect children. I know it’s corny, but it’s also true. What kind of message is sent when the most popular player in the league leaves the court without shaking hands after a tough, but deserved loss?
Little Johnny will start to think that he doesn’t need to shake anybody’s hand because LeBron didn’t. What really surprised me was that even his Team USA teammate, Dwight Howard, was not exempt from his poor sportsmanship. This is the same Dwight Howard that LeBron won a gold medal with halfway across the world only last summer.
Everyone knows that you have to shake hands after a game of basketball. It’s part of the code. It doesn’t matter what level you’re playing at and who you’re playing against. You didn’t see Larry Bird walk off without shaking hands after a finals loss to Magic Johnson or vice versa. I never saw Michael Jordan skip an interview because he was so angry he chose not to go. These ‘greats’ never stooped to that level. LeBron has a little bit of growing up to do in this department.
I also think Stern should also be recognized for changing his initial position on the subject. It was originally released that the league was not going to fine LeBron. However, after reviewing the case, Stern had a change of heart and altered his position. It’s refreshing to see someone of such power in any sport to admit they were wrong and then do something about it.
Or maybe Stern realized that there wasn’t going to be a dream matchup of Kobe against LeBron and that the stupid puppet ads which promoted this ideal matchup would now be useless . He could have thought that 25k would teach LeBron to play harder next time there were ads predicting him in the Finals. This is possible, but I’d like to give Stern the benefit of the doubt.
Anyways, we await LeBron’s apology. I’m sure we’ll get one after he gets enough rest from that surgery to remove some sort of growth in his mouth. Gross. The fact that it’s a benign growth just makes it sound that much nastier.