That LeBron James — denied the services of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love —- put an otherwise unremarkable Cavaliers team on his broad shoulders and put a legit scare into eventual champs Golden State, says much about the Akron native’s determination & guts, if not his best-on-the-planet status. A day after the conclusion of the 2015 NBA Finals, ESPN.com’s Mark Stein — hardly the first person to suggest there’s a disconnect between LeBron and head coach David Blatt — offers a scathing critique of James’ insubordination, calling the treatment of Blatt, “a rather unflattering look for an all-time great.”
We saw LeBron emasculate Blatt in ways that are simply unbecoming of a player of James’ legend-in-the-making stature.
I saw it from close range in my role as sideline reporter through the Finals for ESPN Radio. LeBron essentially calling timeouts and making substitutions. LeBron openly barking at Blatt after decisions he didn’t like. LeBron huddling frequently with Lue and so often looking at anyone other than Blatt.
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. Which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.
How is any fellow Cavalier going to treat Blatt with something resembling reverence when LeBron treats him like a bench ornament in plain view. How can LeBron publicly laud his own leadership, as he so often does, when setting that sort of tone?