Fact Check: Was LeBron James’ Controversial Shot Actually a 3-pointer? Will Referee Tony Brothers See the Same Fate as Eric Lewis?

Published 12/30/2023, 11:58 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

This wasn’t the gift that LeBron James expected for his 39th birthday, amid a heartbreaking defeat against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Los Angeles Lakers took on the Wolves in a Saturday night encounter, with a live-wire final few minutes. The LA side fell short by two points at the end, but the NBA world is stuck at the controversial call where King James attempted a three-pointer to level the game. But, the veteran referee Tony Brothers ruled out the shot as a two-pointer even after a review, leaving James in disbelief.

This isn’t the first time where the NBA world saw an animated James after a controversial call. Every loyal Lakers fan would remember the visuals of Patrick Beverly walking out with a camera to the official. It occurred after James pleaded to the refs about a missed foul call. Let’s dig deeper into the Saturday night game’s controversial call.

Was LeBron James’ controversial shot actually a 3-pointer?


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With less than 8 seconds in the game, LeBron James ran back in a quick transition and attempted a three-pointer to level the game. However, the ref immediately called it a two-pointer. After patiently reviewing the shot, the veteran ref Tony Brother still called it two points.


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Meanwhile, James can be seen showing Brothers the paused image of his foot in front of the line. And despite that, he ruled that out. It definitely left the 4x NBA champion hurt, as he shared the close-up image of his foot in front of the arc on his Instagram. The caption of the post read, “Sooooooooooooooo!!!!! WTF. Helluva Happy Bday gift to me.”


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In the review pool report, Tony Brothers said, “After video review, there wasn’t clear and conclusive evidence to overturn it from a two to a three, and that’s why it stood as a two-point field goal.” 

This led to the conversation on whether Tony Brother’s fate will resemble former NBA referee Eric Lewis, who retired after a controversial call on James last season.

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Let’s find out more about the Eric Lewis story.

Eric Lewis’ unfortunate fate after the controversial call

During a regular season match-up between the Lakers and Boston Celtics, the replay clearly showed Jayson Tatum fouling James, who was attempting a game-winning shot. Similarly, the Lakers ended up losing the game.

The referee who failed to make the call was Eric Lewis. Following the incident, the 20-season experienced ref’s fate in the league wasn’t fortunate enough. Several reports revealed that Lewis was already holding up the league under an investigation over his social media activity. He had breached the league’s rules for discussing officiating on social.


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Later, the league dropped the investigation when he decided to retire from the league. Similarly, following Tony Brothers’ call, some expect the veteran ref to face a similar fate.


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Do you think Tony Brothers’ call was fair? Let us know in the comments below.


Written by:

Shahul Hameed


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