LeBron James likes to be in charge. That much we know. But at what cost? According to ESPN senior writer Marc Stein it cost another man’s mojo, specifically, Cavaliers Coach David Blatt’s.
“We literally saw peak LeBron and the corresponding LeBron nadir over those six gripping games with Golden State,” Stein wrote on Thursday. “And we likewise saw LeBron emasculate Blatt in ways that are simply unbecoming of a player of James’ legend-in-the-making stature.”
Stein goes on to outline actions he says he witnessed firsthand, including James calling timeouts, deciding on substitutions, “barking” at Blatt regarding decisions he didn’t agree with and just generally taking his place.
“There was LeBron, in one instance I witnessed from right behind the bench, shaking his head vociferously in protest after one play Blatt drew up in the third quarter of Game 5, amounting to the loudest nonverbal scolding you could imagine,” Stein wrote. “Which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.”
But isn’t that just LeBron being LeBron?
It’s no secret that James called plays for the Cavaliers. Blatt, who Stein also blames for not asserting himself, even admitted as much in April.
“When the game is going on and you are in the heat of the battle at times, you can’t get a message through or you don’t want to stop the flow, so a guy may [call the play on his own],
Blatt said (via ESPN). “I don’t think that’s unusual.”
James, too, hasn’t been shy about his leadership role with the Cavs.
“Why wouldn’t you give me the freedom to call play calls?” James told The Associated Press in April when asked about it. “That’s like telling Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, don’t give them the freedom to change them in the huddle. I’m a smart, cerebral basketball player, my basketball IQ is very high, and I take that very seriously.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post