Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is one of the most beloved players in the NBA.
However, he appeared to lose some support from the league’s younger generation during a recent meeting in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla.
“I heard first of all that he was speaking out of pocket and was talking to the players in a fashion that really turned some of these young cats off,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said. “This is a new day. It’s a new generation, and as we have said on previous shows when cats were out on the streets protesting and things of that nature, just talking about the younger generation. They’re not having it anymore.
“Well, guess what? The younger generation of players were not having what they were hearing from LeBron James because of the fashion in which he spoke to them. So when he stormed out of there, I was told it was in part because of that. And he sort of came off like, ‘I got mine. I don’t need this,’ and walked out.”
In addition, Smith reported that James extended a call with owners while offending other players in the league in the process on Thursday.
“When everybody thought the meeting was over, LeBron James grabs the mic,” Smith said. “And from what I’m told talks for about 15 minutes. And he’s talking about 15 minutes in a fashion that turned everybody off because they had already agreed to what they were going to do moving forward. And he was talking about ‘the guys beneath me. I have to look out for the guys beneath me.’ To the point where you have people saying, ‘What the hell you mean beneath you.’ Now, they didn’t say that to him. But they certainly said it to people like myself, Woj (Adrian Wojnarowski) and others who are covering that meeting. He came across as if he was the king with some crown.”
Multiple players have expressed their displeasure with the lack of social justice change in the bubble. The shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot several times by police over the weekend, sparked protests all over the sports world.
James, 35, launched a diatribe about his anger with the situation. However, it appears his frustration spilled into the meeting the players in the bubble had on Wednesday evening.
The four-time MVP serves as mentor and inspiration for dozens of youngsters in the NBA. It seems some of those must have lost respect for James after seeing him in a different light on Wednesday and Thursday.
Despite wanting to boycott the remainder of the season at one point, James had a change of heart on Thursday.
The Lakers will resume their playoff quest against the Portland Trail Blazers. They are up 3-1 in the first-round series.