LeBron James is one of the NBA’s strongest men — if you’re going to foul him and not give up the and-1, you better make it a good one. And even if you do foul him, no call may be made as he just powers through you.
James joined a long, storied list of the NBA’s best — from Dwight Howard this season, back to Shaq years before and dating back to George Mikan at least — of men saying the referees treat them differently because of that physical strength, reports our own Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.
“Sometimes it’s unfair because of how strong I am,” James said. “I can take punishment of course, but at the same time, I just feel like it’s unfair sometimes.
The spark was a foul by Mo Evans that got James around the neck in an attempt to stop a layup. Evans was not making an intentionally dirty play, but James wanted a flagrant foul.
“I don’t know if Mo Evans’ intention was to be dirty,” James said. “I watch a lot of basketball. I see a lot of basketball every day. Every time someone gets grabbed around the neck, it’s an automatic flagrant foul. If I’m wrong, tell me I’m wrong. But it seems like every time I get hit hard or a hard foul, and all I get is two shots and they take the ball out.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has his star’s back.
“He absorbs a lot more contact than people realize,” Spoelstra said. “He’s big and tough enough that he shrugs it off. But you go in there and see him in the locker room, and he’s got ice on pretty much every part of his body.”
James is right about this. After the season he and Dwight Howard can sit around and have a beer and complain about it. Shaq can join in (he took more physical abuse at his peak than either of those two). And then the guys from the 1980s can come in and laugh at all of them.
Hate to tell you this LeBron, but it’s part of the price for being one of the big strong guys. It hasn’t changed for decades, it’s not changing now.