April 20, 2004

Now LeBron Cries Foul

LeBron James has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and he took the occasion of the press conference to whine just a bit about the rookie treatment he received from the league's officials this year.

"They try to take away your manhood in this league, and they couldn't get mine," said James, who was to receive his trophy Tuesday night at the NBA store in New York. "I could have averaged around 25 points if I could have gotten a lot of calls."

One of the most admirable things about James' conduct throughout the season was that he knew his superstar billing wouldn't exempt him from the unwritten code that rookies just don't get the calls that veterans do. And the referees seemed to go out of their way to let opponents bang on LeBron almost at will. This was especially noticeable since James is already known throughout the league as a "finisher", taking it to the basket, where most fouls are called (or not).

He never mouthed off to referees though, and was respectful of players on opposing teams, even when they were mugging him. And now with his rookie season behind him, and the ROY hardware in his hip pocket, I think he's earned the right to bitch a little.

Posted by dan at April 20, 2004 10:39 PM