The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the middle of a slump, well if you can call losing 3 of their last 5 a slump for the defending champs. Let’s not forget that Cleveland is coming off back-to-back NBA Finals appearances and LeBron James himself has played in six straight. They are tired.
Add to the fact that they have dealt with injuries, criticism and new players then you can understand that turbulence was sure to hit sooner or later. However, through it all, the Cavs are only one game behind the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. While the media is having a field day with LeBron’s actions and comments towards his teammate Tristan Thompson, he was right to put his foot down.
Thompson and James made a mistake on a defense play and neither player was happy about it. There were words exchanged and it was all caught on camera. So what. What did LeBron actually do wrong? If a player can laugh and make happy faces with their opponents or teammates when situations are going their way– why are they not allowed to show a bit of anger when a player is torching them for 40+ points?
What LeBron did was show that he’s finally becoming a leader.
It’s all fun and games when you’re cruising to another Division or Conference title but what type of leader are you when your team is struggling? Say what you want about Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, but when have you not seen them get in their teammate’s face when needed? This is the emotion we’ve been waiting to see from James.
He’s normally the laid back and plays it cool type but that fire he showed let everyone know how serious he’s taking the game now. No one wants to lose and he was right in letting Thompson know that a mistake was made. What if he didn’t and Thompson turned around and did it again? So what if it was in front of an audience. When was James supposed to say something– when they got in the locker room?
Words are said in the heat of the moment and as a person that has played sports, I know this to be true. However, the only mistake James made was apologizing afterward.
I have to do a better job of not showing up my teammates out on the floor. I had the right intentions in my mind, but I had the wrong intentions come out of my mouth,” James told Fox Sports Ohio on the court after the game ended. “I take full responsibility for that as the leader of the team. So I got to be a lot better at that and be able to keep that in-house in the locker room and when we’re watching film.
There was no need for this at all.
The object is to win and if a player makes a mistake then he must be told. You cannot wait until you’re watching game film to point that out. The game is still going on. Maybe Thompson is soft and needs to be cuddled. If that’s so, then he’s in the wrong business.
This was a great move by James to take a stand. It may not go over well in the locker room for a day or so but it will help make Thompson a better player. It also give notice to the other players that an act like this will not go unnoticed anymore by their leader.