LeBron James says refs have been telling him privately that they’re missing foul calls on him

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James revealed that referees have been telling him that they’re missing calls on him at halftime and after games this season.

It’s certainly a concerning development for the Lakers, as James is usually extremely aggressive getting to the rim and is able to draw foul calls to get easy points. If he’s not getting as many calls this season, it could be part of the reason why Los Angeles has struggled so much on offense.

So far in the 2022-23 campaign, James is averaging just 4.9 free-throws attempts in the Lakers’ first nine games. Since James entered the league in the 2003-04 campaign, he has never finished a season attempting less than 5.7 free throws per game.

The four-time champion went 0-for-3 from the free-throw line on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Los Angeles lost to Cleveland 114-100 to fall to 2-7 on the season.

Despite the lack of chances at the line, James finished the game with 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He’s had yet another solid season for the Lakers so far in the 2022-23 campaign, averaging 24.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field.

Los Angeles has not had a ton of success on offense this season, currently ranking dead last in the league in offensive rating at 102.7. It’s a major concern for a team that has James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, who are all offensive stars when they are at the top of their game.

It’s unclear what James needs to do to get more calls, but it’s possible that the 18-time All-Star is using this public announcement to put the rest of the league on notice.

For a player who is so strong at getting to the rim and finishing through contact, it’s possible James’ unique abilities have cost him a few calls so far this season. The bright side for Lakers fans is that the season is still young, with 73 more games to go, and James could end up inching closer to his usual free throw numbers as the season progresses.

The Lakers and James will look to get back in the win column on Monday when they take on the Utah Jazz.

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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.