NBA legend Lebron James has put some noses out of joint. Picture: Getty
NBA legend Lebron James has put some noses out of joint. Picture: Getty

Heat on LeBron after explosive week

LEBRON James has gotten some noses out of joint this week with some big statements.

The NBA superstar can arguably say what he wants at this point in his career but has made himself few friends this week.

The 33-year-old savaged NFL owners, calling them "old white men" and saying they had "a slave mentality".

Speaking in the latest episode of his HBO show The Shop,  the Los Angeles Lakers star didn't hold back on the powers that be in the NFL.

"In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality," James said during the episode.

"And it's like, 'This is my team. You do what the f--- I tell y'all to do. Or we get rid of y'all.'

"The players are who make the ship go. We make it go. Every Sunday, without Todd Gurley and without Odell Beckham Jr, without those players, those guys, there is no football. And it's the same in the NBA."

LeBron James speaking on HBO's The Shop.
LeBron James speaking on HBO's The Shop.

Gurley, who is a star running back for the Los Angeles Rams, was the guest on the episode.

It allowed James to share his thoughts on both leagues but also share some differences.

"The difference between the NBA and the NFL, the NBA is what we believe he (a player) can be. The potential," James said. "In the NFL, it's like what can you do for me this Sunday, or this Monday or this Thursday, and if you ain't it, we moving on."

Added Gurley: "That's what I say: Your best ability is availability. It's really week by week. It ain't no year by year."

James, however, had some kind words for the NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

"I'm so appreciative in our league of our commissioner," James said, referencing Silver.

"He doesn't mind us having ... a real feeling and to be able to express that. It doesn't even matter if Adam agrees with what we are saying, he at least wants to hear us out. As long as we are doing it in a very educational, non-violent way, then he's absolutely OK with it."

Several small-market general managers were upset the NBA did not intervene after James started openly recruiting New Orleans Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis, according to a report.

The general managers want the league to enforce its tampering rules against James, ESPN.com reported.

They vented their frustration by reaching out to Pelicans GM Dell Demps, expressing dismay at what they viewed as the league's tacit endorsement of James's comments.

"If these are the rules, enforce them," one Western Conference GM anonymously told ESPN.com.

"If you want to push Anthony Davis in LA, if you allow LeBron to interfere with teams, then just do it. Change the rules, and say, 'It's the wild, wild west and anything goes.' But give us a list of the rules that you're enforcing, and give us a list of the rules that you're going to ignore."

You can’t help but think LeBron is enjoying the Anthony Davis talk.
You can’t help but think LeBron is enjoying the Anthony Davis talk.

Earlier this week, James said he would like to see Davis in purple and gold after the Lakers' 115-110 loss to the Nets.

"That would be amazing," James told ESPN on Tuesday. "That would be amazing, like duh. That would be incredible."

James and Davis are both represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Some are worried that James and Paul will push for the Pelicans to trade Davis to the Lakers, the report said.

ESPN noted that the NBA's bylaws prevent a player from directly or indirectly persuading a player to join another NBA team.

"Any Player who, directly or indirectly, entices, induces, persuades or attempts to entice, induce or persuade any Player, Coach, Trainer, General Manager, or any other person who is under contract to any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services shall, on being charged with such tampering, should be given an opportunity to answer to such charges after due notice and the Commissioner shall have the power to decide whether or not the charges have been sustained," the bylaws say.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters on Friday morning (local time) that they were "not trading him," referring to Davis.

The pair played on Saturday, with LeBron's Lakers getting the win over Davis' Pelicans 112-104.

The NBA has fined the Lakers twice in the past two years, but a league spokesman said an individual player's comments might not be included in the tampering regulations.

"Each case is assessed on its own facts," an NBA spokesman told ESPN.com. "In general, absent evidence of team co-ordination or other aggravating factors, it is not tampering when a player makes a comment about his interest in playing with another team's player."

Davis, on the other hand, seemed largely disinterested at the prospect of joining James and the Lakers anytime soon. He will become a free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.

"I don't really care," Davis told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "Obviously, it's cool to hear any high-calibre player say they want to play with me. But my job is to turn this team around. If we're 15-17, that means I'm not doing my job."

James has been clamouring for another big-name player to join the Lakers and expressed a desire to play with Carmelo Anthony, who is still technically on the Rockets.

- with Noah Bresser, New York Post

This story first appeared in the New York Post and was republished with permission.

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