Mike Kays

Mike Kays, Phoenix Sports Editor

News flow and spacial considerations often get in the way of timely thoughts. 

So excuse this if it’s a week or so old.

However, since we’re on a course toward transitioning from the pretty-much meaningless summer prep activities to more serious ones, maybe there’s utility here to render a lesson that in all times, timing is everything, whether the lesson is on time or not.

Earlier this month, LeBron James set his own standard in that department.

James, who usually is busy when the NBA Finals is going on — he’s been in 10 of them — has had a little extra time on his hands since he and his Lakers took a first-round exit ramp this season. 

In early July, the four-time NBA MVP was watching his son Bronny’s game at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School, in a gym that bears dad’s name.  In the waning minutes, Bronny got a foul call, due according to the PA guy because he was playing in a gym with his father’s name on it.

The elder James began yelling at the announcer and eventually interrupted the game in the process, coming out on the court before eventually returning to his seat. 

Bronny’s team, called Strive For Greatness, lost the showcase game, 73-69.

Now it wasn’t a state title game, or even a regular season game. Most of these showcases don’t even play for championships. It’s about getting better, or getting a scout’s attention. 

But King James is what we call a role model. He’s also a dad, and most of us can relate to emotions that come out when someone unjustly criticizes our kids. And certainly in Bronny’s case, he has a load on his shoulders just living as the son of LeBron. And as most pros know, offspring doesn’t always mimic the provider of the genetics. Sometimes the sequels are better, but there’s no guarantees, and the pressure of the label is always hard to carry.

I’ve engaged in this discussion on social media and what I’ve seen is a missed point in terms of not whether King James was right or wrong in his feelings, but how he handled it.

Let’s put this into perspective. 

How many of us in such a scene would have been allowed to see the rest of the game and not be escorted from the gym? 

Granted most of us don’t have our names on area gyms or been regulars in NBA championships, and I guess that in itself allowed King James the privilege of being able to do so without consequence.

But somewhere, someone is saying, if King James can do it, so can I.

Yet, there’s a right way and a wrong way to address that incident. Confronting him after the game is proper.  By then, however, the tournament officials should have reprimanded the PA guy for stepping outside the boundaries of reputable functionality anyway.

If they did, they didn’t do it quick enough for King James, who by taking matters into his own hands to the point of disrupting the event sent the wrong message.

Some of you saw nothing wrong with that.  To me, it’s excusing bad behavior in response to bad behavior.

And that’s something we seem to be doing more and more these days, as the bar drops lower and lower.

It was just a two-bit showcase.  Likely not a champion crowned or welcome parade for the champion.

But should that excuse it?

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