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.

Comments

Josh Board June 4, 2009 @ 9:57 a.m.

Uh...hey there, Zak.

I'll be glad to continue the discussion. Just post on here anything you wish to add, and I'll comment on it.

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zakmathieew June 4, 2009 @ 4:10 a.m.

Hello, I am Zak Mathiew and visiting this site for the first time and want to continue the discussion.


Zak

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SpliffAdamz_ June 4, 2009 @ 11:30 a.m.

Wow , lebron pulled a LT on them huh!!! I remember when the chargers was 14-2 and lost to the patriots here in dago. Lt was mad that the players were doing the steroid dance on the field , so he walk off and didn't shake anyone's hand. Matter a fact i remember the camera showing players coming up to LT to say good game and shake his. But he was pushing them aside , yelling at people , while he was running his cry baby azz into the locker room to pout!!! Then he did interviews bytching about how the players were doing the steroid dance on the field and calling them unsportsmanlike. Lt what a sore azz loser.

All these NBA players know each other. They party together and practice together in the off-season. Plus don't the players shake hands before tip off??? So to walk away after the game who cares!! If he don't want to do interviews so what!! Give the man some space. Playing sports at the pro level is more pressure then most people could even take. You got your friends , your family , the city and the media all busting ya balls on the game that most of them can't play. Don't forget playing sports is only a job so you got the coach and owners busting ya balls to. Lebron is young , he'll be fine. He just need to learn how to use the media to his advantage.

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Josh Board June 4, 2009 @ 3:53 p.m.

Spliff...I knew the time where we'd be in agreement. And here it is.

The other thing I found so odd about when LT did that...was the fact that he was ranting about how the players weren't being "respectful" because they were doing the goofy "lights out" dance that Shawn Merriman does. Yet, I'm not sure why LT doesn't get the fact that when Merriman does it, it's also disrespectful. Not to mention the fact that Merriman will do it after a routine tackle or play. So...if the Chargers can dish it out, they have to be able to take it. The Patriots doing that dance, was their version of saying "scoreboard, baby!"

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SpliffAdamz_ June 5, 2009 @ 9:42 a.m.

It's like people who say they are sarcastic. Most of them can't take it when it's thrown back in their face. I was so happy to see the real side of LT , crying like a wimp on T.V.!! But what is so funny , LT career has went down ever since that season. He has miss the last two play-off due to injury and he is barely getting 1000yd rushing. Maybe the dumb azz coaches and owners should have tried harder to keep full back o'neal. Who is with the RAIDER NATION now!!! He was the reason LT was getting all the yards.

That dance is called the "lights out"??? Damm i forgot about that!!! Me and da homies call it the "steroids dance" , because he got pop using steroids. Another friend of mine thinks he copying seau , because seau use to do the same thang when he made a big play on defense.

Oh yeah , I am a OAKLAND RAIDER fan!!! RAIDER NATION BABY!!!

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Josh Board June 5, 2009 @ 10:23 a.m.

Spliff, I'm sure anyone could've guessed you'd be a Raiders fan.

Good call on the name "Steroid Dance." I like that.

I think LTs sliding yardage cannot be considered anything other than his age. At the running back position, that is common. Sure, you'll have some of those rare guys like Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber, that have great years late in their career, but it's certainly not the norm.

I think the Chargers were idiots for not letting Michael Turner get more carries those last few years, to save the wear-and-tear on LT. But, it's typical of the Chargers, making stupid moves regarding their players.

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Josh Board June 8, 2009 @ 10:04 a.m.

LeBron James update: He was fined $25,000 for not speaking to the media that day. And, in surgery news: he had a growth removed from his jaw (no word on if the surgeon donned his gloves and then slapped baby powder on his hands, above LeBrons face).

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Josh Board June 16, 2009 @ 10:05 a.m.

Stanley Cup Finals update: Some talk show at 12:25 a.m. last night, said a hockey player didn't shake hands, and how it's much worse in hockey. Apparently they have a big tradition involving the handshake after the game.

Which seems a bit odd, as many of these goons punch and beat the tar out of each other during the games!

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David Dodd June 16, 2009 @ 10:29 a.m.

It was Sidney Crosby, the captain of the winning team. He did shake hands with about half of the opposing team, but was very busy celebrating the victory with his teamates and didn't get around to everyone. It would have been a non-issue, but Kris Draper from the losing team, apparently bitter, decided to make an issue of it.

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Josh Board June 18, 2009 @ 1:15 a.m.

That's so interesting that you explained this.

I was driving home from a late night racquetball game when I heard this sports show discussing this on an AM radio station. And, I got confused when they mentioned celebrating, as the losing team wouldn't be celebrating. And I figured the winning team, would all be shaking hands, so it must've been a guy from the losing team.

I always thought it was a bit odd to win the big game, and start jumping up and down while your opponents all have their heads down. I know you can't control the enthusiasm, but still.

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David Dodd June 18, 2009 @ 1:56 a.m.

I wrote sports for a paper in Los Angeles, briefly, quite some time ago. I was happy I never had to cover hockey, I would have been lost. I understand the game, but the traditions drive me nuts.

Funny story: One evening, I go down to the hot tub in the apartment complex I lived in back then. I'm soaking, getting my tired on. Down comes a guy and his girlfriend. She's very pretty and sexy and he's big, sort of Chuck Norris meets the linebacker of your choice. We chat.

Somehow we come to discussing what we did for a living in the past. He says he was a hockey player. I look him over, carefully, because there is no doubt in my mind that this guy could kick my butt all over the complex. His girlfriend is amused.

"You really were a hockey player? I find that difficult to believe," I tell him.

"Why is that?" he says.

"Well, I'm no expert on hockey, but I understand the game pretty well. You have a great set of front teeth. Sorry if I seem cynical, but most hockey players I've met have had them knocked out..."

He looks at me and laughs. Then he takes his teeth out and offers them to me for examination.

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Josh Board June 19, 2009 @ 1:21 a.m.

refried...you are such a great writer. i could read/listen to your stories for hours.

loved the "linebacker of your choice," and the entire way this story was told. great stuff.

i'm in the same boat as you, regarding the sport (remember one team had octopuss carcass they'd throw on the ice?)

i've been in many debates with my friends (as you've read in these blogs), and one was a PE teacher that was friends with my stepbrother that taught in south central LA. he's a big hockey lover, and claimed that because they fight so much, any hockey player could beat up an NBA player in a fight. at that time, karl malone was the biggest, most muscular guy in the NBA. i said that at 6'9" and solid, no hockey player that is 5'11" could beat him. i swear, we argued this thing for an hour straight. it reminded me of the kids in Stand by Me debating which super hero would win in a fight.

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Josh Board July 9, 2009 @ 3:36 p.m.

LEBRON BAD SPORT UPDATE: Supposedly, a high school kid dunked over LeBron (two handed, no less). Reports are that he immediately talked to someone from Nike, who went over to the cameraman filming, and they confiscated the tape. The cameraman speculates that LeBron didn't want this getting out on the internet.

I'm not sure I even believe that story. If it's true, Lebron is an idiot. It wouldn't have been hard for him to just say "Yeah, that kid was good," and give him props. Or, he could easily say, "Come on, this is my basketball camp. I'm playing with high school and middle school kids. I'm going about 15% when I play defense. What fun would it be for me to block every shot a kid puts up?"

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Josh Board July 13, 2009 @ 10:37 p.m.

LEBRON BEING DUNKED ON UPDATE: I met this tall basketball player over the weekend, who was really interested in the Lebron story. And he knew a lot more of the details then I did.

He said that it wasn't Lebron having an ego that confiscated the tapes from the people filming. It was the fact that the high school kid that dunked on him, was wearing Adidas. And that would look bad to the Nike people that are spending all that dough on King James.

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Josh Board July 22, 2009 @ 12:48 a.m.

Lebron dunking video update: supposedly, TMZ has obtained a copy of the famous high school dunk over James. It was filmed on a cell phone camera that wasn't confiscated, and will be shown today. Be on the look-out.

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