Lebron ‘Emasculated’ Coach?
Published: June 19, 2015
Lebron ‘Emasculated’ Coach?, ESPN’s Marc Stein published an article on Thursday afternoon alleging that Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James frequently ignored head coach David Blatt during the playoffs and NBA Finals, and at times was outright disrespectful to the rookie head coach. He went as far to say the playoffs saw the Cavaliers star “emasculate Blatt in ways that are simply unbecoming of a player of James’ legend-in-the-making stature.”
I saw it from close range in my role as sideline reporter through the Finals for ESPN Radio. LeBron essentially calling timeouts and making substitutions. LeBron openly barking at Blatt after decisions he didn’t like. LeBron huddling frequently with Lue and so often looking at anyone other than Blatt.
There was LeBron, in one instance I witnessed from right behind the bench, shaking his head vociferously in protest after one play Blatt drew up in the third quarter of Game 5, amounting to the loudest nonverbal scolding you could imagine.
Which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.
The report makes clear what many NBA writers and insiders have hinted at all season — that Blatt did not have the respect of his star player.
James played so magnificently in the NBA Finals that some people will say it’s pointless to criticize him, but if this report is true, it shows just how bad the relationship with Blatt had gotten.
It also makes you wonder if the narrative would be different if Cleveland won…in a winning effort, perhaps James’ behavior towards his coach comes across as tenacious and strong. A man hellbent on winning. A stubborn but brilliant basketball genius. That wouldn’t be correct — his behavior was abhorrent no matter winning or losing — but it is how we process sports in this country.
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