Since the 2019 NBA All-Star break wrapped up, the critics of the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James have come out in full force. With the team officially eliminated from playoff contention now, things only heated up more, and it seems the future Hall-of-Famer isn’t helping his case in the eyes of some.
After the dust had settled on the fact that the new-look Lakers and their star forward had missed out on postseason play, James posted a photo on Instagram promising “the spell won’t last much longer.”
He was apparently talking about the team’s playoff drought, which has now been extended to six seasons. But while James promised fans that a return trip to the playoffs is on the horizon, one analyst took issue with these comments.
Stephen A. Smith Calls Out LeBron James Over Instagram Post
During a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith addressed the topic of whether James is “letting himself off the hook.” While the analyst didn’t immediately fire a hard-hitting take at LeBron, things shifted fairly quickly as he called out the Lakers star for that Instagram post.
“Here’s where I’m telling you he’s letting himself off the hook. When he tweets out or whatever he did … when he was talking about Laker Nation – ‘this slide’s going to come to an end, we’re going to make the playoffs.’ Damn that, damn that. That’s not why you’re in L.A. and I’m not speaking as much to LeBron as I’m speaking to that damn Rich Paul and any of his friends that are associated with LeBron that want to sit up there and talk about the three championships, the four NBA league MVPs, I don’t want to hear that.” Smith said.
“You came to L.A. for a ‘ship. If LeBron James does not win a championship in L.A., other than Elgin Baylor who retired in ’72, the same year they won the title, he will be the greatest marquee player to ever wear purple and gold and not deliver a ‘ship to the Lakers.”
Obviously, there’s a reason to believe that James was simply addressing the fact that there’s been so much talk about the Lakers not making the playoffs. But in some ways, Smith is right about the fact that the expectations weren’t for the team to just wind up in the postseason, but some believed they could have been title contenders.
Regardless, the Lakers and James need to hit the ground running next season and attempt to silence the doubters. But there’s going to be consistent chatter for the foreseeable future and the only way that will change is with a strong offseason and immediate success in 2019-20.