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Everyone’s reading WAY too much into this photo of LeBron James alone on the Lakers’ bench

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Clumping up is for suckers.

Everyone is losing their friggin’ minds over this whole “LeBron James doesn’t want to sit with his teammates” thing, and it’s the absolute dumbest.

Firstly, yes the Lakers were getting absolutely obliterated by the Pacers — so the narrative is there, especially in light of the team’s relentless pursuit to trade for Anthony Davis, but do you really think James is dumb enough to cause drama with pettiness via seating?

Also, there’s a perfectly good explanation for this whole situation. The photo isn’t doctored, James was sitting three seats down from the rest of the team — but it’s because the dudes sitting next to him were either in the game, or had just checked into the game. What’s the man supposed to do, awkwardly scooch down just because?

So look, I know I’m just one dude, standing with a few other souls, trying to fight against an entire narrative of James being an assassin out for his own team — but let’s assume for a second that James just wanted space.

James is a genius.

The NBA is full of very large men, and an NBA bench is one of my favorite things in sports because it forces a whole bunch of very large men to huddle together on folding chairs like baby chickens trying to preserve their warmth through winter.

Now, if I’m 6’8, 250-pound James there is no way in hell I’m volunteering to clump together out of some weird camaraderie. If you’re on a half-booked flight do you willingly cram into the seats to uphold the sanctity of the airline seating arrangement? Hell no, you don’t. You move around the cabin and take up as many seats each to make the situation as comfortable as possible given the circumstances.

The Lakers’ bench was a half-empty plane. The team was crashing and burning, they’re just waiting for the pain to all be over — why in God’s name would you elect to slide down and cram yourself next to a bunch of sweaty, angry dudes just because? No, you stretch out, realize it all sucked and play for another day.

This James thing is dumb and people peddling it are trying to play you for suckers. Don’t be a sucker. Think of that half-empty plane. James was the smartest man in the room.