To walk or not to walk
Days after Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, fans are still abuzz on social media and in coffee shops about the officiating slips and the Lebron James walkout at the postgame press conference.
Let’s focus on the walkout because the officiating, though undoubtedly not as sharp as it should have been during crucial stages of the cardiac game, is now a matter of the past as one team got the breaks and another didn’t.
Should James have walked out on the press conference?
The future Hall of Famer was surely frustrated with the way the game ended, especially after another superhuman effort of 51 points. He clearly didn’t like the way the calls went as well as those that supposedly got away. He was disappointed with teammate JR Smith who wasn’t alert in the game during those dying seconds when they could have had the last shot to win it.
But James wasn’t going to bore down on his teammate in public. Sure, he was disgusted and he probably had things to say inside the Cavs’ locker room after the game. But he wasn’t going to be baited into saying anything negative or speculating on what was going on in Smith’s mind during those crucial seconds in regulation.
And yet James still should not have walked out of the press conference, whether or not he was irritated by the line of questioning that was trying to get him to pin Smith. His stature as the leader of the team and as one of the faces of the league demand so much more from him.
It isn’t easy to sound pleasant or diplomatic when you’ve lost a game, but there are ways to wiggle out of the traps of postgame press conferences. James could’ve simply said he wasn’t sure what Smith was thinking of during that stretch or that those things simply happen in a game.
James walked out calmly without throwing a fit but not without dropping a “do better tomorrow” line for the press corps. This still does not justify his walkout. He is above that but even the best have their slips in the public domain.