This year just did not shake out the way LeBron James expected after leaving his home state for sunny Hollywood, California to play for one of the most historic franchises in all of sports, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Well, this year was a complete disaster mainly because it seemed like Magic Johnson put a nice squad around James to compete for a championship. They won’t even make the playoffs.
Things have gotten progressively worse for the Lakers and James just got a huge blow to his career.
If you want to know how bad the Lakers really are there is a measuring tool to use. It’s pretty simple. Is acting legend Jack Nicholson sitting courtside? No? They’re bad then.
You can tell by the way James plays too.
He really doesn’t want to be there – robotically going through the motions with apathy – and it honestly makes sense because they have no shot at making the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, and yet, they still have games to play.
James lets players fly right by him without playing a shred of defense.
But it all came to a brimming meltdown when he played over the weekend in New York at Madison Square Garden and was defeated in 124-123 after giving up a 13-1 run comeback in the final minutes to a horrendous Knicks team.
James, of course, as he always does, controls the ball in the final seconds of the game and is blocked by a no-name Knicks player named Mario Hezonja to close out the fourth quarter.
According to ESPN, “[James] went 4-for-15 from the field in the fourth quarter — the 11 missed shots representing the most he has ever missed in a quarter, according to ESPN Stats & Information. After trailing by 11 with 3:44 remaining in the fourth, the Knicks closed on a 13-1 run, with the Lakers going 0-for-6 from the floor — James accounted for four of those — and coughing up two turnovers to seal the defeat.”
The Knicks swept the Lakers in the regular season and James unabashedly walks off the court back to the locker room like he really didn’t care.
That’s not all either.
There was one moment during the broadcast where James was sitting on the opposite end of the bench from his teammates; not engaging with them or coach Luke Walton during a timeout.
Legendary Knicks broadcaster Clyde Frazier absolutely ripped him for this blatant disrespect.
He said, “This type of behavior is not…When you’re the face of the NBA I think you should be more a part of the team no matter what is going on. In the public you gotta be a part of your team. In the locker room you’re not but you have to exude that type of togetherness in public.”
Is there any other way to see it?
And then, ironically, Walton defended him after the game and his “shot selection.”
Walton said, “He’s one of the all-time great players in our league. He understands time and score and everything else. So, he’s earned that right to take the shots he feels comfortable with. As opposed to some younger guys, you draw things up and tell them what to look for and tell them where to go at what time. He’s earned the right to feel that out and take the shots he feels like are going to be good for him.”
The other striking irony being that James is probably going to get Walton fired after the season.
James just points fingers at others when things don’t go his way. That’s his modus operandi.