LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers' sixth loss in seven games on Sunday—an uninspired 121-114 home defeat to the Toronto Raptors—dropped the defending champions into a three-way tie for the no. 7 seed and inclusion in the polarizing play-in tournament.

Things don't expect to get any easier for the Lakers from now until the end of the regular season, as they navigate chemistry issues, Dennis Schroder's absence, a re-flaring up of James' ankle woes, an out-of-rhythm Anthony Davis, and a brutal schedule full of playoff-caliber opponents and back-to-backs.

A few months ago, the Lakers seemed to be cruising to another top seed and James was leading the MVP race. A few weeks ago, Markieff Morris was dismissing the idea of even thinking about the play-in tournament. Finally, on Wednesday, AD was the first Laker to unofficially voice the play-in alarm.

During his postgame Zoom on Sunday, a frustrated James made his thoughts on the play-in concept abundantly clear.

“Whoever came up with that shit needs to be fired,” LeBron Jamesaid on Sunday. “But, whatever.”

His comments struck the same tone as those from Luka Doncic and Mark Cuban last month once the Dallas Mavericks found themselves in the unenviable no. 7 position.


Of course, as with the Mavs' discourse, folks on the Ol' World Wide Web were quick to lampoon James for his stance. After all, the four-time MVP had not previously expressed any qualms about the play-in tourney, at least this season. In fact, in March 2020, he campaigned for a play-in style series to determine the final seed in each conference. The Lakers superstar was anti-play-in in 2018, to be fair.

Predictably, LeBron James' newfound opposition to the tourney—which has undeniably infused drama into the last few weeks of the season — set off the Twitter take and roast machines.


At 36-28, James and the Lakers are currently tied with the Mavs and Portland Trail Blazers for the no. 5, 6, and 7 seed. Dallas owns the tiebreaker over L.A., while the Blazers and LA will face off on Friday to determine the winner of their season series.

LeBron will miss Monday's game against the red-hot Denver Nuggets due to ankle soreness.