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Did LeBron ‘disrespect’ the Jazz by taking off his shoes? An investigation

LeBron celebrated on the court with 2 minutes left in a blowout ... in his socks. But he had a pretty good reason for that.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers figuratively popped would-be contender Utah in the mouth on Wednesday night. LA beat the Jazz by 25 in Salt Lake. Dwight Howard hit a three in the fourth. The ref missed a shockingly bad travel on LeBron that never actually mattered. Anthony Davis sat the entire fourth, and LeBron played just four minutes of it before retiring for the night.

Late in the contest, LeBron was celebrating a step oncourt during play (not really allowed, but this is a blowout, we’ll roll with it) and the Jazz broadcast crew noticed King James was doing that wearing just socks on his feet. The analyst called it “disrespect” to go shoeless while the game was still going.

First, well yes, LeBron no longer respected Utah’s ability to win the game. It was a 20-point game with two minutes left. But there’s also a good reason LeBron was no longer wearing his game sneakers.

He had just signed and given them away to two young Lakers fans in the building.

The announcers likely wouldn’t have seen that from their perch, but still, the rush to judgment for something ultimately meaningless (socks are disrespect? we’re not talking about flippy bottle, we’re talking about socks) is so unnecessary and poisonous. Many more Utahns saw the broadcast team bash LeBron than will see him having given two little Utahns something they’ll remember for eternity. And for what?

Relax, folks. It’s just basketball.

Scores

Warriors 91, Hornets 106
Bucks 127, Pistons 103
Suns 114, Magic 128
Nets 130, Hawks 118
Heat 93, Celtics 112
Grizzlies 99, Bulls 106
Pacers 107, Thunder 100
Wolves 114, Mavericks 121
Lakers 121, Jazz 96
Kings 116, Blazers 127

Schedule

All times ET. Games on League Pass unless otherwise noted.

Sixers at Wizards, 7 p.m.
Nuggets at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.
Rockets at Raptors, 7:30 p.m., NBA TV
Suns at Pelicans, 8 p.m.

Links

Mike Prada with a signature video breakdown on why Luka Doncic made the leap so fast. Gotta read it.

Nekias Duncan on the Andrew Wiggins renaissance. Gotta read it.

Ricky O’Donnell writes about Jimmy Butler being everything both Butler and the Heat wanted.

PIESMAN TROPHY SEASON!

Why the Rockets are the NBA’s most polarizing team, by Matt Ellentuck.

Speaking of Ellentuck, he reports Breanna Stewart will return to action in January in a Team USA vs. UConn exhibition. Stormy times ahead for the WNBA ...

Chris Ballard on the Kings and Vivek Ranadive using their G League team as an experimental test bed and how it’s actually impacted the NBA.

Ricky O. on Terence Davis, who went undrafted on purpose and is now one of the league’s best rookies.

The Knicks did this to themselves.

The Rockets will be protesting their loss to the Spurs.

Beware Bam Adebayo.

Chris Paul a) seems to have beef with Daryl Morey and b) is living fine in OKC.

Wonderful story by Saqib Rahim on the Kings hosting “Sikh Heritage Night” and sparking a movement against bigotry.

Tim Bontemps has an early MVP straw poll. What’s up with the James Harden denial?

Dan Devine talks to the person who runs the Twitter account that uses I Think You Should Leave clips/memes to react to NBA moments.

10 minor league baseball mascots we’d love to eat.

And finally: did Laura Dern actually see Baby Yoda at an NBA game? An investigation.

Be excellent to each other.