In a recent revelation, sports commentator Stephen A. Smith provided insight into why LA Lakers' LeBron James chose to skip the traditional post-game handshake with Ja Morant and his Grizzlies squad after their first-round face-off in the 2023 NBA playoffs.
The Lakers emerged triumphant against the Grizzlies during this hard-fought battle, with James showcasing a stellar performance. He recorded an average of 22.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, and five assists across six games, solidifying the Lakers' dominance in the series.
Despite the Grizzlies’ position as one of the NBA's most promising young teams, they’ve attracted controversy over the past year. Much of this turbulence can be attributed to Dillon Brooks, who has established himself as an instigator in the team, amplifying the Grizzlies' notoriety.
According to Smith, the Grizzlies' somewhat audacious approach in the playoffs, especially against a team of the Lakers' stature, was a significant reason James bypassed the customary handshake. The sports analyst highlighted Brooks' pre-series remarks about "poking the bear" and his continuous jabs at James.
LeBron James Silent Statement
Smith recounted, "LeBron's departure from the court, devoid of the expected handshakes, was likely spurred by Brooks' blatant disrespect." He went on, "And LeBron, embodying the essence of a true sportsman, decided not to engage.
He conquered on the court and made his exit. This is the kind of drama we thrive on." As LeBron gears up for his age-38 season, his prowess remains undeniable, solidifying him within the NBA's top-tier athletes. Engaging in mockery against such a luminary, especially during a pivotal playoff clash, always seems ill-advised.
Meanwhile, in a tangentially related matter, LeBron drew attention for consuming a fruit salad on the sidelines during the Lakers' Oct. 13 preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. Five-time Lakers champion Michael Cooper weighed in, stating on the "Showtime with Coop" podcast, "While LeBron embodies greatness, there's a decorum to maintain.
Eat in the locker room and then rejoin the team." This incident sparked a wider debate, with opinions divided over whether LeBron's actions were a non-issue or a breach of professionalism. Yet, with LeBron’s consistent track record of professionalism, it's evident why he would choose not to tolerate disrespect, like that shown by the Grizzlies in the previous season.