And then, one hour prior to facing Michael Jordan's team on the court, James took the sort of stand that he deems part of his duty as the current face of the game.
He did not hold back.
He did not spare Donald Sterling.
Asked if he had any thoughts about the Clippers owner's racially charged comments—as allegedly captured on audiotape and reported by TMZ—James started with a short disclaimer:
"Obviously, if the reports are true..."
And then he let loose...
"It's unacceptable. It's unacceptable in our league. It doesn't matter if you're white, black, Hispanic, whatever, all across the races. It's unacceptable. And as a commissioner of our league, you have to make a stand and you have to be very aggressive with it. I don't know what it's gonna be, but you just can't have that in our league."
James spoke of NBA players being the "most recognizable" sports figures in the world.
"And for an owner to come out and say the things that he said, it's very disrespectful, and very appalling," James said. "And one of my best friends and dear friends plays for his team, Chris Paul."
James said they hadn't had the opportunity to talk.
The Clippers decided not to boycott the next game.
What would James do?
"I don't know," James said. "I've kind of wavered back and forth if I would sit out, if our owner would come out and say the things that he said."
James' owner did not, of course. In fact, Micky Arison, along with San Antonio's Peter Holt, was one of the first to issue any comment on the Sterling situation, delivering a statement that "the comments reported by TMZ were offensive, appalling and very sad" but that he would refrain from commenting further until the completion of the league's investigation.
"I hate the fact that something like this has to come out when the playoffs have been unbelievable, and the game has continued to grow," James said. "But there's no room for Donald Sterling in our league. There's no room for him."
James wondered aloud what would happen to a player who said something similar.
"I believe in Adam," James said. "I believe in the NBA. And they have to do something, do something very fast, quickly, before this gets out of hand. Like I said, there's no room for Donald Sterling in our league. So there it is."
And there goes something else:
The speculation that James would consider the Clippers if he opted out of his contract.
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