Dave Rice 12:24 p.m., May 20
LeBron James -- Bad Sport?
When the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Orlando Magic, a lot of the media talked about how horrible it was that LeBron James didn't shake hands with the Orlando players. He just walked straight to the locker room.
I didn't have a problem with that.
Sure, it's bad sportsmanship. But this isn't youth sports, where coaches insist on that, and nobody should have hard feelings.
These are athletes paid millions, and yes, contrary to what dorks like Charles Barkley say...kids do look up to these players.
But the media liked to bash LeBron for never winning in the playoffs. And, he was probably so frustrated by that, his teammates not stepping up the way he thought they were capable... that he just didn't feel like shaking hands.
I did have a problem when an NFL coach (Bill Belichick, I believe) didn't shake the other coaches hand. That's probably because I thought the coach was a jerk for other reasons.
When I found out a few days later, LeBron also refused to talk to the media, well...I did have a problem with that.
These athletes are paid a lot of money by the NBA and they have to follow NBA rules. This means meeting with the media, even if they're going to ask idiotic questions (anyone remember a Super Bowl where one brilliant reporter asked Doug Williams how long he'd been a black quarterback?)
LeBron didn't have to plaster a smile on his face. He didn't have to spout out the sports cliches. He could've just been somber while he answered a few questions. And if the questions got ridiculous, he could've called it a day.
Either way...I don't think this isolated incident should define who he is.