LeBron James is the consensus greatest basketball player of his generation. For all the scrutiny and harsh critiques he faced early in his career when trying to secure the coveted NBA Championship, James has answered every adversity and marked his legacy in the sport as an all-time great. While there isn’t anything bad you can say about James, there‘s one issue he appears to be the leader of that simply isn’t good for the NBA.
Sure, age is a factor as LeBron needs to preserve his body in preparation for another championship push, however, NBA fans across the globe specifically purchase tickets to see the game’s best player. It was announced last night by Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue that his “Big 3” of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will not travel with the team tonight for a matchup against the Grizzlies. Fans have been highly upset in the past and now more than ever before as this continues to be a trend among top-tier players.
While the NBA is profiting off fans paying premium prices to see James put on a show, many are left feeling shorted out of what they paid for. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has spoken openly about this topic and may have to regulate rules soon that offset players sitting out, something former Commissioner David Stern did in the past.
“I’m super-reluctant to start telling these great coaches how they should manage minutes of players,’’ Silver said.
James has fired back at critics in the past and points to him following orders from his coach as opposed to him making the decision to rest himself.
“I do whatever my coach asks me to do,” James said. “My coach wants me to rest, I don’t buck my coach. That’s what he wants and that’s what we gonna do. I’ve been in this league 14 years. I shouldn’t have to explain me sitting out a game or not playing games.’’
James might be following orders, but that still undermines the overall issue that sitting out games when healthy is bad for the sport of basketball. Perhaps the rigor of an NBA season is something I can never imagine?
Or, maybe this is a problem even star players of the past have an issue with, including Boston Celtic Hall-of-Famer Kevin McHale.
“This rest stuff just drives me crazy,” McHale said. “You’re playing basketball for a living, OK? I understand, if you work in a coal mine, that you may need a rest day. You’re playing basketball. The joy that comes with competing in basketball — it’s fun to play. I never got tired in a game. How can you get tired in a game? You’re playing basketball. I don’t understand this. You’ve got all day to sit on your rear end. This rest stuff drives me nuts. I don’t believe in it.”
You must act soon, Commissioner Silver, for the fans sake.