Not even LeBron James could get away with something like this without saying he’s sorry. And fortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, his once-embattled coach poked fun at the strange circumstances, too.
After he inexplicably sauntered to the bench and sat down mid-possession in his team’s win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night, James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that he expressed regret to his teammates for such a sudden and jarring err in judgement – but didn’t elaborate on the source of his obvious frustration.
“I blew a gasket. You know what that mean?” James said after the game. “I apologized to my teammates for it.”
James was asked what he was so upset about, considering the Cavs’ lead was so large at the time.
“That’s not the point,” he said.
Cavaliers coach David Blatt threw support behind his star with some much-needed jest.
“Well, he was frustrated. He knew we weren’t playing right,” Blatt said. “And (he) thought we were playing hockey. A hockey sub.
“You know, Bron is a lot of things — a lot of great things — but probably where you’re not going to see him is out there playing for the (Lake Erie) Monsters (an AHL team based in Cleveland) or the (New York) Rangers. You know what I mean?
“But he was frustrated. I understand his frustration, but obviously, you shouldn’t do that.”
Ever quick-witted, James responded to Blatt’s quip with his own about his frequent “hockey assists” – passes that lead directly to a recorded assist by a teammate. Cleveland’s floor general, by the way, has recorded just nine secondary assists over the season’s first few weeks, 13 less than Matthew Dellavedova’s team-high mark.
The Cavaliers’ best player and their coach, apparently, were both wrong: James hasn’t been playing much hockey-hockey of any kind recently. Jokes aside, Blatt’s amused reaction to James’ gaffe reminds of just how far their relationship has come since early summer rumors of a potential change on the Cleveland sidelines.