Jeff Teague says he got death threats and had to delete Instagram after pushing LeBron James during 2016 playoffs

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Former NBA guard Jeff Teague explained why he pushed LeBron James during the playoffs in the 2015-16 season.

Teague was with the Atlanta Hawks at the time, and he shoved James (then with the Cleveland Cavaliers) into the stands on a hard foul in the Eastern Conference semifinals in Game 3.

James seemed to shake off Teague’s dirty play at the time, but Teague still apologized and explained why he made the move.

“My fault G.O.A.T.,” Teague said.

The former Hawks guard was then asked what made him do that in the game.

“We was losing,” Teague said. “S—, I’m a sore loser. He was beating my – I ain’t won a playoff game against that n—- ever. I was sick of this s—.”

Teague also explained that there were fans in Atlanta cheering for James, even though it was a road game.

“I said, ‘You know what b—-, I got something for you,’” Teague said. “Shoulder checked the s— out that n—-. He went to the stands. I got so much hate mail. ‘If he would’ve been hurt, I would have killed you, b—-.’ I’m like, ‘Ay yo I gotta get off the internet. That’s when I first deleted Instagram. That was my first time deleting Instagram. I was like, ‘Yeah I gotta get off this s—.'”

Teague has been extremely honest about his NBA experience in his post-playing career, and it’s created some funny stories. While at the time Teague’s push was a dirty play, it is humorous to hear his rationale several years later.

James and the Cavs went on to knock the Hawks out of the playoffs that season. They ended up reaching the NBA Finals and overcame a 3-1 series deficit against the Golden State Warriors to win the title.

That was the third NBA championship of James’ career, and he added another to his trophy case with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2019-20 season in the league’s Orlando, Fla. bubble.

James is still on the hunt for another title, and he’s playing at a high level in the 2023-24 season, despite the fact that he is 38 years old and in his 21st season in the NBA.

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer is averaging 26.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 58.6 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Teague was lucky that he didn’t injure James on that shove back in 2016, as it could have altered the four-time champion’s career if he suffered a major injury.

During his NBA career, Teague played for the Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. He won a title with the Bucks in the 2020-21 season. That was his last season in the NBA.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.