Reggie Miller Understands LeBron’s Unsportmanlike Behavior

June 1, 2009 – 12:00 pm by Tas Melas

While I was watching the first couple rounds of the NBA playoffs, I commented that I really liked watching the players shake hands post-series.  We all know that most of these guys are friends off the floor and that’s understandable, but to look a guy in the eye after fighting with him for two weeks shows a great deal of class and respect.  The NHL is the only league that I know of where players are required to line up and shake hands post-series.  Men in the NBA, NFL, and MLB are allowed to scoot off without acknowledging the other team.  Not only did LeBron skip out on the post-game kudos, but he also went straight to the team bus and didn’t speak to the press (that might be a bigger reason as to why the media has made this such a big story).  People are ragging on LeBron because he’s LeBron; really, the guy’s constantly in a lose-lose situation.  He plays really hard for six games, his team fails, he walks off the court without speaking to anyone, and now he’s the villain.  He made a mistake, he knows it, but he does a hell of a lot more good than bad.  TNT commentator Reggie Miller joined The Dan Patrick Show to give his take on LBJ’s mindset post-game, whether or not he lost respect for ‘Bron, what LBJ should have done after storming off the court, and Miller gives a great example of a similar scenario handled properly.

Did you lose respect for James?

“I didn’t lose any respect, I’m sure a lot of people are weighing in, are saying they lost a little bit of respect.  Was it bad sportsmanship?  Yes.  In the heat of the moment, having been there, he’s disappointed, he’s carried this franchise, and in that series he carried his team and they came up short.  I can see his disappointment.  Is he wrong?  Yes, but in the heat of the moment, I can see where he’s coming from.”

What should he have done?

“After the game, even if he blew off the media, he should have immediately walked down to the Magic locker room and went in there, and walked up to Dwight and congratulated him.  I would have been cool with that, but not say anything, go straight to the bus, straight to the airport and then not speak until, I guess it was yesterday.  That’s the only issue I have with it.  Him walking off and not really shaking anybody’s hands, I mean, it’s tough.”

How can you shed that feeling of being in the heat of the moment?

“Sometimes you gotta remove yourself from the situation and extend your hand, but on the flip side, I see where LeBron is coming from.  He’s not really showing any malice towards, he’s just disappointed.  He’s disappointed that I averaged 45 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and we came up short… I wouldn’t shake my coach’s hand either!”

He did send Dwight Howard a text:

“I say he’s wrong for doing that.  To send a text later… that’s kinda like breaking up with your girlfriend over text, I mean, what is a text?  That could have been from Maximus, his son.  Right?  You really don’t know that originated from LeBron.  So, it’s very impersonal.  He’s wrong for doing that, I’m sure in hindsight he probably wishes he would have marched down to the Magic locker room and actually went in there and congratulated…”

Can you recall a similar situation?

“It’s funny because I remember when the Pistons beat the Lakers back in ’89, I believe it was.  Magic (Johnson) left the court hastily, but if you look in the video, you see Magic in the Pistons’ locker room, hugging and shaking everyone’s hands.  And, I was like, ‘That’s a class act right there’ ’cause not only did the Pistons celebrate on the Lakers floor to win the championship, but their best player is in their locker room congratulating Isiah (Thomas), and Chuck Daly, and the rest of those guys.”

Listen to Reggie Miller on The Dan Patrick Show

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