Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James refused to speak with the media after the Orlando Magic eliminated his team in a closely contested Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He also chose not to shake hands with Magic’s Dwight Howard, but that’s a different issue. NBA commissioner David Stern fined James $25,000 almost a week after he failed to show up at the post-game press conference or in the interview room.
My two cents: If LeBron didn’t want to shake hands with Dwight Howard and other Magic players, well, that doesn’t make him an ax murderer. Not everybody shakes hands and not doing it has nothing to do with poor sportsmanship. We’re not talking about a CYO basketball championship involving sixth-graders, after all. …
But shame on the King for not going to the interview room. He has a responsibility to take questions, and not just because he’s the recently-crowned MVP. Win or lose, it’s part of his job. And that means right after the game, by the way, not the next day up in Cleveland.
What a nightmare that had to be for the PR staff. It’s understandable that players wouldn’t want to talk after a devastating loss like that. We all get it. But talking to the media is part of an athlete’s duties and when the star player is unavailable for a series deciding game, it causes some problems for the reporters trying to cover it. That’s why leagues have rules about when players have to be available after a game — members of the media need to get quotes for their articles and are usually rushing trying to hit deadline as it is. A delay in availability or the lack of media availability from one of the NBA’s premiere players (and regular season MVP) really makes it difficult for reporters just trying to do their job.