Lakers star LeBron James goes off on NBA for not listening to him on injuries
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James excoriated the NBA for the onslaught of injuries that have defined the 2020-21 season and playoffs, claiming the league ignored his advice in electing to start the season too early.
LeBron fired off a series of tweets on Wednesday in the wake of the news that another All-Star, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, suffered a knee sprain in Game 4 and will miss Game 5 vs. the Utah Jazz, and possibly beyond:
“They all didn’t wanna listen to me about the start of the season,” James wrote. “I knew exactly what would happen. I only wanted to protect the well being of the players which ultimately is the PRODUCT & BENEFIT of OUR GAME! These injuries isn’t just ‘PART OF THE GAME’. It’s the lack of PURE RIM REST rest before starting back up. 8, possibly 9 ALL-STARS has missed Playoff games(most in league history). This is the best time of the year for our league and fans but missing a ton of our fav players. It’s insane. If there’s one person that know about the body and how it works all year round it’s ME! I speak for the health of all our players and I hate to see this many injuries this time of the year. Sorry fans wish you guys were seeing all your fav guys right now.”
“And I know all about the business side too/factors so don’t even try me! I get it,” James added.
🙏🏾 to the 🖐🏾Klaw
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 16, 2021
As Marc Stein of The New York Times communicated (via Elias), Leonard will be the eighth All-Star to miss at least one playoff game this season — a new NBA record — joining LeBron’s Lakers teammate, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.
James didn’t miss any playoff games, but the high ankle sprain he suffered in March cost him 26 regular-season contests and derailed the Lakers’ season. He was clearly compromised in Los Angeles’ first-round playoff loss to the Phoenix Suns.
It was the longest injury absence of his insanely durable 18-year NBA career.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton reported that injury rates, particularly for stars, were at a record high in 2020-21, due to a combination of the short offseason, condensed schedule, and debilitating COVID-related protocols and restrictions.
The NBA and NBPA controversially negotiated a Dec. 22 start date to the season after initially indicating a start in January or February. The Lakers and Miami Heat wrapped up the 2020 NBA Finals in mid-October in the bubble.
The bumped-up date was agreed upon in an effort to recoup a few billion dollars lost to the pandemic, finish the 2020-21 season before the Tokyo Olympics, and return the league calendar to normalcy for 2021-22.
Chris Paul, the president of the NBPA, is facing missed games in the Western Conference Finals due to COVID-19 protocols.
LeBron voiced his opposition to the December start date when it was announce and expressed similar displeasure at the All-Star Game money grab, calling the decision a “slap in the face.”
Bron’s reaction to the NBA having the shortest offseason 😅
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 6, 2020
James served four years as a VP of the NBPA but was replaced in 2019 by Andre Iguodala.