LeBron James’ Early Exit in Finals Game 3 Brings Out Twitter Trolls

Frustrated LeBron James, in Game 3 of the NBA FInals.

Getty Frustrated LeBron James, in Game 3 of the NBA FInals.

If you are checking in on some corners of NBA Twitter, you might think that LeBron James walking off the floor of the Lakers’ Game 3 loss to the Heat in the Finals on Sunday evening was tantamount to kicking the basketball gods in the shins. With nine seconds remaining and the Heat holding an 11-point lead, James expected Miami to run out the clock. He got a jump on his trek to the locker room, walking off the floor while the game was still in play.

It would not have been noticeable except that possession changed hands with 0.7 seconds remaining in the game, and the Lakers needed five players on the floor to inbound.

ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson noted, “That is not a good look.”

Indeed, it is not a good look. As former NBA player Antonio Daniels pointed out on NBA Radio on Sirius XM on Monday, James’ postgame stroll (he was joined by fellow Lakers Rajon Rondo and Kyle Kuzma) forced Jared Dudley, Danny Green and Alex Caruso to check in for less than a second of playing time. He agreed with Jackson: “It was not a good look.”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel explained after the game: “I think they thought the game was over. I don’t think they realized there was point-whatever that was still on the clock.”

And James, when asked if he walked off because he was frustrated or because he lost track of how much time was remaining said, simply, “Both.”

LeBron-Hating Trolls Express Their Twitter Outrage

Still, because it is James and everything he does will bring out the trolls, some tweeters were especially harsh.

This, from the New York Post, a publication that still struggles to accept the fact that James chose not to sign with the Knicks in 2010, claiming fans were “stunned” by James’ action. Sure, the game was being played in a bubble and no fans were on hand, but they still were stunned:

This, too, from talk-show host John Cardillo, a former cop who now whines for a living:

Oh, and there was this—James leaving the floor of a game that appeared to be already over somehow offered as proof that he is not as good as Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan.

(That notion can be pretty much entirely debunked, at least on the Bryant side, by this. Nice try, though.)

For NBA Players, James’ Actions ‘Blow Out of Proportion’

Now, of folks who have actually spent time in the game, James’ early walk was not a big deal. Here is what Chris Bosh, James’ former teammate from their time in Miami, had to say about James:

I’ve been really mad and walked off the court before, too. I know it’s the Finals, everything will kind of get blown out of proportion but the game was over. Yeah, if your best player is mad and walked off the court—I remember, it’s not the first time he’s done it, it won’t be the last. I’ve done it before. It’s emotion.

Chris Bosh reacts to LeBron walking off the court early in Game 3 of Lakers vs. Heat | First TakeChris Bosh joins Molly Qerim Rose, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman to discuss LeBron James leaving the court before the end of Game 3 of the 2020 NBA Finals, in which Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat beat LeBron, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. He also discusses LeBron's legacy. #NBA #Sports #FirstTake…2020-10-05T16:37:59Z

Another former James teammate, Kendrick Perkins said much the same thing on ESPN.

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“I’m not looking at it as a classless act by LeBron James because everyone thought that the game was over and was walking toward the locker room including the coaching staff, Perkins said. “That’s what LeBron was saying, ‘I’m not about to stand there on the court after Jimmy Buckets just gave us a 40-piece wing dinner. What you want me to go run and shake his hand? It’s overblown.”

By some, sure it is overblown. But if the biggest criticism of James is that he left the floor with nine seconds to go in a game whose outcome already was decided, then his critics are really picking at the small stuff.

READ NEXT: Kobe Bryant Posted a Hilarious Photo of Anthony Davis 8 years ago


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