- LeBron James is the best, most visible basketball player in the world.
- LeBron James is the most polarizing basketball player in the world.
- LeBron James is the most heckled basketball player in the world.
1+2 = 3. It's a fairly simple, unsurprising equation. But when LeBron threatens to kick a fan's ass, suddenly there's a twist. After Friday night's Wizards game, a reporter recounted an exchange that could raise some eyebrows.
First, NBC Washington's Sarah Kogod tweeted this:
And then came the rest (via Twitter):
Wanted to give Heat PR time to comment on the LeBron fan altercation. I’ll update you if they end up doing so, but here’s the story. I saw a Wizards fan and LeBron in a heated conversation on the sideline during the game Friday night. I spoke to the fan and got his side.
LeBron was waiting alone in the backcourt when fan Bob Moore made a comment to LeBron about Delonte West and LeBron’s mom. Accrdng to Moore, LeBron said "The only reason you talk shit is because you know I can’t come off the court right now and beat your ass."
Also according to Moore, LeBron continued "But if I had a free pass, I’d kick your ass right now."
Moore replied "I’m right here baby. Let’s go" before security stepped in.
Okay, so... yeah. Even though it's been seven years since the Ron Artest brawl, this is the sort of thing the NBA's still verrrrrrrry sensitive about. Fan safety's important, and players allegedly threatening to fight fans is a slippery slope that spells a PR disaster even in the best of circumstances.
But if it's true, good for LeBron.
Don't let prejudice cloud the judgment here: If you scream about someone's mother knowing full well that said someone can't possibly respond, you probably deserve to get your ass kicked.
We haven't heard Bron's side of the story, but even if the account above is completely accurate... Players shouldn't fight fans, no. But if fans want to scream about someone's mother, you can't blame LeBron for stating the obvious: I can't kick your ass, but man, I would if I could.
There's some kernel of truth for Bron there, too. Even if it centers on an exchange that'd give David Stern a heart attack, this story's refreshing. For all the hysteria that engulfs everything he does or says, LeBron's most sympathetic when he's something he almost never is: Sincere.