LeBron and Mario. Brothers?

“There’s this incident that occurs with Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr on a basketball practice floor, where there’s a little tension between them, and eventually Michael reacts to it and hits Steve.  And at that point there’s a turning point for this team.”

-Phil Jackson, former coach of the Chicago Bulls

 

Reminiscent of that infamous Jordan-Kerr altercation of yesteryear, LeBron James had himself a mini, mid-game spat Wednesday night with teammate Mario Chalmers that raised some eyebrows and provided further insight into the competitive demeanor of the world’s most dominant athletes.

The brief but heated shouting match occurred on the bench, during a time out, after Chalmers missed repeated, defensive assignments which resulted in Pacers guard and MVP candidate Paul George sinking two, wide open three-pointers.  The second of those three-pointers gave the Pacers a fourteen point lead late in the third quarter against the two-time defending champions.

LeBron had had enough.

LeBron mean mugs Mario

During the time out, after some jawing back and forth, James jumped out of his chair and lunged at Chalmers.  He had to be restrained by Udonis Haslem.  Assistant coaches watched on, taken aback as if it was something they had never seen before, a potential altercation nobody, especially Chalmers, wanted any part of.

It was a side of James we rarely see, the adrenaline-fueled rage the game’s greatest have always possessed yet we’ve only recently seen in LeBron.  The stars of Christmases past, Magic, Larry, Michael and Kobe, all might seem like cordial fellows but they’d step on your neck to get a win.  LeBron is finally among them.

I recently wrote that Peyton Manning was America’s most likeable athlete, the polished marketable never-do-wrong guy.  We respect his carefully crafted image but that doesn’t mean we don’t secretly enjoy when a pissed off Peyton publicly calls out a “liquored up” teammate for “running his mouth.”  Kickers and Chalmers should know their place in the grand pecking order.  Sometimes they need to be reminded of that.

LeBron Browns jersey

In this day and age of political correctness and the almighty importance of the marketing dollar, an apology after any such outburst is almost mandatory.  LeBron and Chalmers both tweeted formal, heartfelt apologies to one another.  Love you, bra.  We fault the athlete if we don’t get it.  “How could he have assaulted a teammate,” we ask, as if there are not a slew of co-workers we’d love to smack in the mouth if only we could get away with it.  Our dark side wanted to see LeBron put Chalmers in his place.  We want him on that wall.  We need him on that wall.

LeBron is more than just LeBron at this point, if that makes any sense.  Forbes lists him as the world’s 16th most powerful celebrity, just behind Coldplay and Tiger Woods but ahead of David Beckham and Robert Downey, Jr.   Not bad company if you can get it.  At age 28, not only is he one of four men to win four NBA MVPs but he is the face of the Miami Heat, as well as the face of the league.  Like it or not, putting a teammate in their place is what faces of the league must sometimes do.

While watching highlights of the altercation, I couldn’t help but harken back to when I heard the news that Jordan had punched Steve Kerr during a closed door practice.  It remains an inherent part of Michael’s unrivaled competitiveness, his lore, his sickness, that same legacy that Kobe, LeBron and every other megastar fruitlessly chase.  Like Jackson’s recollection of the incident above, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called the James-Chalmers spat a “breakthrough moment.”  We’ll see how Miami responds moving forward.

LeBron Paul GeorgeWednesday’s Pacers-Heat game would have been just another regular season match-up had it not turned out the way it did.  Having already beaten Miami once, the Pacers had all the momentum… for three quarters.  They even had people thinking the Heat were vulnerable.

Think again.

Had the Pacers beaten Miami with a gimpy LeBron, the critics would have chalked it up to Miami not giving it their all.  But the Pacers losing a late double-digit lead in the manner they did was the absolute worst way for them to lose, for it proved once again that the defending champions are still the team to beat, physically and psychologically.  Miami might not be the more complete team but they own the game’s most complete player and in the NBA more than any others sports league, that’s what matters most.

LeBron losing his temper every now and then is a good thing for the NBA.  It’s just not good for the other twenty-nine teams in the league.

26 thoughts on “LeBron and Mario. Brothers?

  1. I think I just threw up in mouth. He is a spoiled brat, plain and simple. Great player obviously but acts like a child. Everything from not shaking hands when he loses to yanking footage of him being dunked on by a high schooler. He is a poor loser and that makes him much less of a great person.

  2. Chris

    The Pacers are still a young team learning the ropes as are the entire coaching staff as franchise moves into the upper echelons of elite status within the conference and NBA as a whole . The loss to Miami told us a great deal about both teams as to their tenacity and resilience .

    Their meetings over the course of this season are likely to provide us with a great deal of entertainment .

    This story coming out of North Carolina concerning PJ Hairston is such a crock of “BS” , as the athletics department knew that the player had eligibility issues from the start , but they thought that they could fly under the radar concerning it all.

    tophatal …………

  3. Chris

    LBJ simply has a desire to win , just like his idol Michael Jordan . But let me ask you this , like I said in my article on players and their responsibilities , it has been their immaturity and then the press that dictates their behavior . Fans in some respect have bought into the bull#hit and then ran with it . So what ought we to have expected from LBJ ?

  4. Great comeback by the Heat. If it was fueled by LeBron’s snapping at unSuper Mario, then Miami should hope for more missed defensive asignments by Chalmers.

    LeBron is flat out the best baller on the planet now. If he develops that psycological edge and starts playing with a chip on his shoulder on a regular basis the world is in for a treat.

    I can only hope he defects to LA this off season and brings that spark to be developed into a full fledged forest fire by one of the other alpha dogs in NBA history.

  5. I think Heavy D and Dan the Man may have just inspired a post.

    So what is it about the guy that irks you so?

    I mean, he’s far and away the best player in the league. Kevin Durant is the second best player in the league and he’s not even close.

    LeBron’s a passing forward with insane vision, solid defensive skills, super strength and fuck, guys, he’s already got four MVPs.

    He’s nearly impervious to injury, doesn’t run around, doesn’t gamble. What is it that you guys want?

    Look, I’m one of the biggest Jordan fans there is but what we’re witnessing in LeBron is pretty damn fantastic. The guy is shooting, wait for it…. SIXTY PERCENT from the floor this season and once again averaging seven boards and seven assists.

    He has improved every year that he’s been in the league.

    I can’t help but think that had Jordan played in this multimedia era, there’d be a few of us that wouldn’t have idolized him so.

  6. I haven’t really followed the Hairston story, Al. Didn’t UNC just lose to North Texas on their home floor? Who’s coaching them? Will Muschamp?

    Pacers looked pretty good against the Rockets tonight, Al.

    Let’s just say that the Eastern Conference Finals are going to be one helluva watch.

  7. Al…

    I think we have to give athletes a little bit of a pass.

    Try speaking or saying the right thing in the spotlight with millions watching and twenty or so microphones stuck in your face. It ain’t easy.

    We all say and do stupid shit. We’re just lucky there’s not a million people watching.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m willing to forgive the big stuff but if someone says something out of context and some media dunce runs with it, well, I’m willing to give a guy a break.

  8. Bleed…

    Are you sleeping with a LeBron voodoo doll under your Lakers pillow in the hopes that that happens?

    I just don’t know, man.

    I guess it all depends on what happens with Kobe over the next year or two, not to mention the health of D Wade.

    God help you all if you end up landing Carmelo.

  9. Chris

    Why should a bunch of infantile bunch of @as#holes be continually given a pass ? This country for some dumb @ss reason sends off young kids to fight in wars of futility, as they have done for the last twelve years and then upon their return psychologically and physically damaged , they’re pi$sed upon by their very own ( government and in many cases the public) . Yet an athlete with ##it for brains is given a pass when they ran afoul of the law , get patted on the @ss by their respective hierarchies even when it’s known that their actions are grossly egregious . Yet you believe that they can and should be given a pass , because a microphone is shoved in their face and they say something stupid ?

    Everything Jim Brown said about Kobe Bryant was right on the mark . When have you ever seen Bryant address any social issue as it even relates to the city of LA, where fans there spend money watching the guy play , but less than fifteen miles away from the Staples’ venue there remains pockets of needless gang violence ?

    Haven’t these so called athletes got brains and shall we say a modicum of intelligence ?

    That Haiston “story ” is ugly and much of the blame for that actually lies with a href=http://www.goheels.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205497516> Roy Williams the Tar Heels’ AD Bubba Cunningham who recruited the kid , knowing his numerous issues on and off the court .

    Still no word on David Price’s future with the Rays . No actual takers for an AL Cy Young Award winner ? Crazy , real crazy !

  10. Again, Al, I think you’re misunderstanding me.

    I’m not willing to forgive gross stupidity but if a 19 year old says something in front of a microphone out or nervousness or inexperience then the media runs with it, well, the media was just as wrong to begin with.

    Kobe was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Al. And he’s not about to step into the hood. I’m not suggesting he shouldn’t. I’m saying expecting him to do so is unrealistic.

  11. Chris ,

    The spoon was then subjectively shoved up his own @ss (Kobe Bryant) , as he became an even bigger moron from his days living in Italy while his father played ball in Europe . Expecting Kobe to step into the “hood” is unrealistic ? Why so , because his idea of doing positive in his eyes , is to do dole out some bicycles at Christmas to some needy kids and the pub then makes him look good ? Are you frigging kidding me ?

    All of the millions that Bryant has made and he still comes of looking like an @ss . Fox and Shaq should have kicked the ##it out of him after the Eagle, Colorado incident for “mouthing off” about their sexual escapdes , rather than standing up and being accountable for his own actions .

    Bryant is no different from that other @ss in the NBA , Carmelo Anthony . The player in 09 made a complete fool of himself when he was caught with a group of gang bangers in DC and there he was on camera saying that those who snitch out to have a bullet placed between their eyes . Way to go ‘melo , proving your that your mind was a aste along with that year spent at Syracuse in spite of a national championship .

  12. Great read SC. Interesting & informative.
    And thx for another great year of posts!

    Happy holidays to my very favorite blogger & all the many SC readers out there.

  13. M…

    That was a pretty heated altercation, at least verbally.

    And as you can see from the comments section, LeBron has a ways to go before winning over a number of fans from my generation.

    Still chasing the ghost of Michael.

  14. I agree with you that he is the best player in the league. I said it before and I will say it again…he needs a good PR guy. Not shaking hands after losing is a poor sport…period. He needs to learn how to lose gracefully as well as win with class…he exhibits neither and i am suspect that he ever will be able to. He is an entitled person (pretty obvious is you listen to him)that has never been told no and only told how great he is in life. He needs a good humbling or three so that he learns to shows respect to others. I know I am not alone in my opinion of him. Great player, lousy human.

  15. If the doll would help, I’d do it.

    I know it’s a total longshot LBJ goes Hollywood, but history tells me I can dream big and sometimes have my PRPL&GOLD prayers answered, so why the hell not bust out the voodoo?

    Not a Melo fan, but at this point we need whatever help comes. I prefer we sign him only as a com,pliment to James…but again, longshot. Sounds like Melo already has his LA gear packed and ready.

    LeBron meanwhile has a great thing going under Riles or could ride back into Cleveland on a white horse to join a talented, younger roster. I think both are more likely than him becoming a Laker, but I’ve learned to never say never when it comes to stars signing contracts with the Lakers. Mitch has a history of pulling rabbits out of his hat so I wouldn’t be suprised either way to tell you the truth.

    Until it’s oficially decided, I will continue to pray to the voodoo gods that LBJ-to-LA happens.

  16. D…

    The Bad Boy Pistons did the exact same thing when they finally ended up losing to the Bulls and while we remember it, we don’t necessarily judge them for it.

    You’re right about LeBron’s PR guy who I still think is Maverick Carter, a childhood friend

    I think he was humbled in Cleveland, never being able to win anything there. I’m not sure who in the league will be able to do that though.

    The next few years should be interesting. LeBron will eventually have to reinvent himself. That won’t happen for a while but when it does, we’ll see what kind of basketball player, and more importantly man, he becomes.

  17. Bleed…

    L.A. wouldn’t entirely surprise me but do you see him and ‘Melo playing together?

    I’ll have a post up on ‘Melo soon that will probably change your mind.

  18. I repeat…I only want Melo in LA if he comes as a package deal with LeBron. I’m not sure the Lakers feel the same way, but I hope they do. I’d hate to see us sign him simply because he’s the next biggest name on the market behind LBJ.

    I know he and Kobe are close and their wives hang out and all but without James being there to offset the star power balance and keep the ball moving, it may devolve into a fight over who gets up more shots instead of winning.

    As the Olympics showed, Anthony can light it up with the best of them, but I think without James in the mix, the Kobe/Melo pairing just wouldn’t work.

  19. Bleed…

    I’m starting to worry about Kobe.

    At this point in his career, in your dream setting of Bron Bron and Melo in purple and gold, Kobe’d have to play the third fiddle. I’m not sure how many more defenders he’s going to be able to take off the dribble when he’s Option A.

    Plus I think LeBron is going to ride the whole D Wade thing out. Although he’s banged up, I think it’s still safe to say he’s got more left in his tank than Kobe does.

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