Now that the NBA Finals have kicked off, we can finally start milking the matchup for its several intriguing plotlines. The fact that these two teams met in the ’06 Finals seems to be one of the most popular subplots. However, what people are overlooking is the beef between LeBron James and DeShawn Stevenson. Looking back on previous playoff series, these two have quite the relationship.
The Wizards-Cavaliers rivalry was one of the most entertaining the league has seen in awhile. For three consecutive years (from 06-08), Washington would fall to Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. After losing by one in three out of the Cavs’ four wins in the 2006 series, the Wizards planned on coming back with a vengeance during the following postseasons.
After acquiring role player and “defensive specialist” DeShawn Stevenson, he took it upon himself to call LeBron “overrated” after a regular season game against the Cavs in March of 2008 (their playoff matchup had already been set). In a poor attempt to get in his head, Stevenson felt that calling LeBron overrated would somehow make his first-round date with the superstar go smoother than their last.
When asked about Stevenson’s “overrated” remark, LeBron responded by comparing it to Soulja Boy making the same comment about Jay-Z.
When the media approached Stevenson about LeBron’s response, he attempted to avoid any confrontation with Jay-Z by saying he had no problem with the legendary rapper. However, he decided to raise the stakes a bit and invited Soulja Boy to sit courtside (in a Stevenson Jersey) during a home game that series. Supposedly that was his idea of making a statement. Unfortunately, his mind games would backfire, and in six games LeBron averaged a cool 30 points in a 4-2 victory for the Cavs. LBJ would ultimately have the last laugh overall, bringing out the big guns and asking his good friend Jay-Z for a small favor.
Debuting this song at club Love in D.C. during a party he was hosting, LeBron would air Stevenson out right in his own backyard, and got away with it! Caron Butler (the only Wizard in the house that night) left the scene because he felt his teammate was being disrespected. When the media approached Stevenson to ask his thoughts on the Jay-Z diss track, it was clear that he felt the beef had gone too far.
He told the Washington Post:
“When I had Soulja Boy here, it was on the court. It was nothing disrespecting him or his family or even foul language.
“So I’m boycotting Love. Everybody on our team, we’re boycotting Love and Park. We’re not going no more. But I appreciate Jay-Z for giving me the shout out.”
I guess any publicity is good publicity for Stevenson. Luckily for him, LeBron may have ruined his relationship with his pal Jay-Z after deciding to take his talents to South Beach over the Jersey Turnpike.
Fortunately for the Mavericks, Stevenson appears to have learned his lesson. So far, he hasn’t made any comments regarding the former feud between him and LeBron. After Miami’s Game 1 victory, don’t expect him to say anything that could make the series more difficult for the Mavs than it’s already going to be. But if he does, we may be in for another show. All it takes is one hard foul to rekindle the flame.
What do you remember about the feud?
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