There is an unwritten rule in sport and in life, "Don't talk bad about a man's mama."
This rule is universal, regardless of race, religion, creed or station in life. Last Friday night, Wizards fan Bob Moore crossed that line.
It is no secret that in most circles, LeBron James is at best disliked and at worst, despised. When he made his now infamous comment "I'm taking my talents to South Beach," James basically signed over his previously untarnished reputation to the I'm a Jerk Talent Agency (I think Scott Boras works there).
Jersey burnings were happening left and right (I believe that I once read that people were buying jerseys just to burn them). Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert even went so far as to make the most ludicrous declaration, "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former 'king' wins one," and called James' "decision" a "cowardly betrayal."
That was 2010. Two years later, people still cannot resist taking the occasional pot shot.
The rumor going around in LeBron James' last days in Cleveland involved, of all things, his mother in an alleged affair with then-Cavs (then Timberwolves, then Celtics, now Mavericks) guard Delonte West.
Of course, with a rumor like this and a newly-fallen hero, the wolves gathered around the fresh meat.
It is not a new story to say that Bob Moore's comments to LeBron after the Friday night drubbing at the hands of James and company were a first-time offense, but maybe in LeBron's mind, it may be the final straw.
Deadspin.com notes an NBCWashington.com report with details of the exchange:
I saw a Wizards fan and LeBron in a heated conversation on the sideline during the game Friday night. I spoke to the fan and got his side.
Fan Bob Moore made a comment to LeBron about Delonte West and LeBron’s mom… [According] to Moore, LeBron said “The only reason you talk s*** is because you know I can’t come off the court right now and beat your a**.”
Also according to Moore, LeBron continued “But if I had a free pass, I’d kick your a** right now. Moore replied “I’m right here baby. Let’s go” before security stepped in.
Should LeBron have reacted in a potentially violent manner? Absolutely!
Should LeBron be fined for the outburst? Again, absolutely!
It is a matter of honor that he stand up for his mother. It is a matter of business that he keep the fans happy. Therein lies the conundrum.
Had Bob Moore been attacked, at the least you would have to agree that he had it coming. When a man insults another man's mother, he knows that he is in for a fight. It is one of only a few comments that will result in violence. However, LeBron as a player has a responsibility to keep his temper in check and ignore all the off-the-court heckling.
This is a lose/lose situation. LeBron was trapped between the proverbial "rock and a hard place". Thankfully, nothing other than trash talk occurred, but for the good of the NBA, Bob Moore should be banned. There is a line that fan should not cross. Heckling a player for a bad performance is fine, but when it gets personal, the line has been crossed, and there will be repercussions.