LeBron James responded to comments from two Utah Jazz announcers who criticized him for having his shoes off and being on the court after being taken out of Wednesday's 121-96 win.
"Imagine doing your job at the highest level to where you're not needed anymore, giving your shoes to a lil girl and boy who you inspire and hoped you made proud that night, then cheering on your teammates cause you love seeing them succeed more than yourself only to be criticized while doing it," James wrote on Instagram. "People it's the world we live in and you can't let it ever stop you from your purpose in life. Negativity, bad energy, hate, envy, etc etc will try to bring you down throughout your journey and it's up to you on how you handle it. I handle it by simply saying 'Thank You' with a [smile] on my face and continue to push forward while doing it! LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE."
James was criticized by Jazz announcers Matt Harpring and Craig Bolerjack in the fourth quarter after he stepped on the court following a defensive possession in which Utah center Tony Bradley got blocked twice. Here is a transcript of the exchange, via Awful Announcing:
Harpring: Look at LeBron, he's on the court.
Bolerjack: With no shoes, mind you.
Harpring: What the heck is going on here?
Bolerjack: That's some disrespect right there. Please. This isn't playground ball.
Harpring: I mean they are clowning right now, on that bench side.
James had given his shoes to two young fans who were in the crowd earlier in the quarter. He had 20 points and 12 assists in what amounted to a blowout, with the Lakers winning in Utah on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Jazz announcers seemed more upset with James for stepping onto the floor without shoes than him having his shoes off in the first place—a point that may have been fair if it weren't for the laughably heightened outrage. They could have made a fair, level-headed point that the sweat from James' socks could potentially endanger another player by making the floor slippery.
Instead, the whole thing came off as sour grapes from an announcement team that's seen the Jazz falter with five losses in six games.
James, of course, is no stranger to clowning around on the bench in a blowout loss. Grinding his feet into Utah's court is his most famous example since he and his Cavs teammates did the water bottle flip challenge during the 2016-17 season in a win against the New York Knicks.
Good news for Lakers fans: The last time LeBron made headlines for tomfoolery, the Cavs made the NBA Finals.