Many eyes have been on the NBA since the Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott their Wednesday playoff matchup with the Orlando Magic. There are those who have applauded the decision and have hailed it as a historic event. However, not everybody is on board with the boycott.
Though it wasn’t his decision to start the boycott, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is the face of the NBA and will always be looked at during moments like these. He’s been criticized a lot in the past for his political stances and longtime sports journalist Jason Whitlock has been among his biggest detractors. He had some choice words for James after Wednesday’s events.
“LeBron James is worshipped by sports fans, by many of his peers, by virtually everybody in the sports media. LeBron James is a false god,” Whitlock said Thursday. “He’s just a human being, just like everybody else. Yes, it’s great he can dunk a basketball and he’s a terrific basketball player but LeBron James isn’t really doing anything all that important … and I know he’s given some money and is the face of a school in Akron, but at the end of the day, LeBron James is a very tall, very athletic, very accomplished basketball player. It’s inappropriate to worship him.”
The school that Whitlock mentioned is the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, which is funded by the LeBron James Family Foundation. In addition to that, James also helped create the “More Than a Vote” nonprofit organization.
Insider Offers Insight on James’ Thought Process
Whether he likes it or not, James has the most important voice in the NBA. He’s spent years as the best and most outspoken player in the league, so many look to him during times of trouble. There were reports that James was one of the men who were ready to leave the NBA bubble and cancel the season but The Athletic is reporting that it’s a little more complicated than that:
That included the ongoing discussions with James. “He wants to play,” one source with knowledge of his thinking said Thursday. It was thus discordant to hear the Wednesday night news that he had been one of the voices opting to stop the season. But sources say James’ beliefs may have been twisted in the re-telling.
His frustration, per sources both in and outside of his camp, was not with those who wanted to to continue to play; it was with the lack of a plan going forward after the Bucks caught most of their playing brethren off guard with their decision to walk out Wednesday. The Lakers’ team vote Wednesday night, per a source, was not unanimous; some players wanted to keep playing, while others wanted to walk. And, as ever, people then looked to James.
“‘They’re going with whatever you (James) want to do,’” a source said. “‘Do you want to play or do you not want to play?’” And that’s when James figuratively said ‘let me sleep on it,’ and left the meeting, only to continue the discussion into the night.
It appears a night of sleep cleared James’ head and the plan is to play. Wednesday was a huge moment for the league and it seems like they’ve been begun the process of sorting things out.
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Playoffs Should Return Soon
As of now, Thursday’s games and possible Friday’s games are canceled. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that games are likely to resume on Saturday. Sunday also seems like a possibility. While the league did vote in favor of continuing the season, the Lakers and James haven’t come out with any new information.
It appears that they plan on finishing up their series with the Portland Trail Blazers.