LeBron James is being criticized for the way he left the court after the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns in Game 6. The TNT broadcast showed James walking back to the locker room shortly after the clock hit zero, but it was difficult to tell if the superstar reached out to Suns players near the Lakers bench before bolting.
The Washington Post’s Ben Golliver posted a video from the Staples Center showing James walking directly to the locker room. Golliver reported that James did not shake hands with Suns players after the game.
“A quick exit for Lakers’ LeBron James after Game 6 loss,” Golliver tweeted. “No handshakes on the court w/ the Suns.”
After NBA playoff series end, it has become customary for opposing players to shake hands. While James is being criticized for heading to the locker room, the Lakers superstar later found Suns guard Devin Booker in the locker room and gave him a signed jersey.
Here is a look at the video of James leaving the court that has social media buzzing.
James Gave Booker His Jersey After the Lakers Were Eliminated by the Suns
The NBA posted photos of James’ friendly postgame exchange with Booker. James gave Booker his signed gold Lakers jersey complete with a personal message.
“Continue to be great,” James wrote on the jersey.
James followed up the moment with praise for Booker and the other young stars around the league during his final postgame press conference of the season. The Lakers star noted that Booker, “continues to make the jump” as his career progresses.
“I love everything about D-Book,” James explained, per Sky Sports. “I’ve had numerous conversations with him in the past. He continues to make the jump. When you want to be great in this league, as he said, and as Kobe told him to be legendary, when you want to be legendary you’ve got to improve, not only your game but you as a man in everything both on and off the floor. All the conversations I’ve had over the years, I could tell he’s soaked them up and used them to his advantage. Everyone sees what he’s able to do on the floor right now, but his maturity as a young man is what I’m most impressed about. I love everything about Book, that’s the post-game interaction.”
Skip Bayless Blasted LeBron: ‘That’s Who He Is & Always Has Been’
Despite the moment with Booker, Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless never misses a chance to put James on blast. The FS1 host noted, “that’s who he is” referring to James heading straight to the locker room.
“Can’t wait to talk about LeBron leaving the court without shaking any hands … just as he left the bench (and stench) with 5:40 left in the blowout Game 5 loss at Phoenix,” Bayless tweeted. “That’s who he is and always has been.”
James also received criticism for leaving early in Game 5 as the Lakers were getting blown out by the Suns. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel defended the move after the game noting James was headed to get medical treatment. It is the beginning of what is sure to be an eventful offseason as the Lakers look to walk back to the locker room with a trophy once again in 2022.