It went down in NBA folklore as one of the strangest in recent memory, sitting atop what is a very lengthy list of bizarre moments from the enigmatic former Pacer. Paul George, who was of course playing alongside Stephenson for the Indiana Pacers at the time, had a front row seat as it all unfolded.
On Podcast P with Paul George presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment, George shared his thoughts following the incident.
“For the series, I'm guarding LeBron,” he said. “So, like, bro…what the f**k are you doing?”
The insinuation was clearly that Stephenson's strange actions were going to rile up LeBron – something the Pacers and particularly his direct opponent in George would probably prefer not to happen. However, George's memory of the moment isn't all negative.
“I thought it drew to our intensity of like, we not backing down to y'all. I thought we stood behind Lance after he did that, as opposed to like, you know, getting on him about it or breaking up about it. I thought we backed him up and it made for us just raise the intensity.”
The Pacers did end up losing the series in six games – with LeBron James playing a key role in the Game 6 blowout. In Game 5, however, with the Pacers down 3-1, LeBron had one of the worst games in his postseason life, finishing up with five fouls and playing just over 24 minutes and logging only five points (on 2-10 shooting), two boards and four assists. Maybe that tickle in his ear distracted him after all.