Before every game Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James heads to the scorer’s table where the NBA legend takes a bottle of powder and throws it in the air creating a white cloud prior to tipoff. Before Game 1 against the Warriors, James was about to start his routine, but the bottle at the Chase Center was conveniently out of chalk. Here is a look at the viral moment that has Warriors and Lakers fans buzzing.
Such is the beginning of what is expected to be a heated playoff series between Golden State and Los Angeles for the right to advance to the Western Conference finals. We saw James follow Steph Curry all the way to the bench during Game 1 in a series where every small moment is calculated. There is already plenty of speculation that the empty bottle was no accident. The TNT crew at “Inside the NBA” offered their own speculation about chalkgate.
“Where was the powder for LeBron? That thing was empty,” Ernie Johnson joked.
Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley agreed that it was an intentional move by the Warriors.
“They did that on purpose,” Smith suggested. “They did that on purpose that’s why all the cameras were around him. There’s never a lot of cameras around [James at the start of the game].”
LeBron James on Steph Curry: ‘It’s Great to Have People Like That in This League to Set an Example’
The bad news for Golden State is that the talcum powder malfunction did not seem to slow down James. The Lakers star notched a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds leading Los Angeles to an upset victory in Game 1. For the record, King James was finally able to locate a chalk bottle that was full and successfully completed his pre-game ritual.
James’ rivalry with Steph Curry dates back to consecutive NBA finals matchups when the Cavaliers and Warriors squared off. Heading into the latest series, both stars attempted to take the high road by remaining complimentary off each other.
“He puts in the work,” James said of Curry during a May 1 media session. “When you put in the work, nine times out of 10 you’re going to see the results, and he’s done that throughout his whole entire career. I got nothing but the utmost respect for Steph and everything he’s been able to accomplish.
“Not only on the floor but also off the floor, too. It’s great to have people like that in this league to set an example for the generation to come.”
LeBron James’ Chalk Toss Dates Back to His Rookie Year in 2003
James has been conducting this pregame routine since his 2003 rookie season in Cleveland. The iconic moment has been included in Nike commercials and often mimicked by fans. As for the matchup against Curry, James emphasized that the two legends have a lot in common.
“Two of the most competitive players that’s ever played this game, and we want to etch our names in the history books as much as we can by doing it our own way,” James added. “Like I said, I got nothing but the greatest [admiration] and greatest respect for Steph.”