‘Squeezed the H-ll Out’: Former Lakers Champion Responds to LeBron James’ Comments on Playoff Injuries

Published 06/19/2021, 12:20 AM EDT
Jun 3, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts in the second half against the Phoenix Suns during game six in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Ever since the Orlando Bubble, everything happening in the NBA circuit is novel even to the league owners. First, they had to operate in a secluded place to convene the 2019-20 season that LeBron James’ Lakers won. Later, they initiated the smallest off-season to start the 2020-21 calendar and followed it by a forced All-Star game.

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All this took a toll on the players, especially the older ones, and kept them in a very vulnerable position. The league, which did all of this to push TV broadcasting revenue and the business, paid a hefty price with star players sitting out. As a result, they saw LeBron James acting like a whistleblower throughout the season. And now, the retired ones have also joined him.

Former Lakers champion with an honest remark

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James Worthy recently sat down for an interview where he agreed that the shortened off-season led to all the chaos. The three-time NBA Champion remembered his days with the Lakers during the Magic Johnson era. In those days, the first round used to be a best of five series, and hence even the postseason was shorter. 

The Hall of Famer first discussed the bubble, saying, “A lot of teams were limping around all season long with covid… no practice time. It was the survival of the fittest.” Later, he reminisced about his time and expressed, “14 years, fortunately, a lot of those years I ended in June, we’re in the finals. So my body, and everyone else’s body used to have half of June off. July, August, then you move to training camp in September.”

Notably, as many as nine All-Stars, Chris Paul as the latest addition have missed the playoffs either because of injuries or safety protocols. The Nets are playing without Kyrie Irving, the Nuggets played without Jamal Murray, the Lakers missed Anthony Davis, and the Clippers are now without Kawhi Leonard.

May 23, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts after suffering an injury against the Phoenix Suns in the second half during game one in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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James Worthy backed LeBron James’ stand

A few days back, LeBron James had tweeted a thread wherein he had blamed the league for not taking athletes’ health seriously. The boy from Akron has been hammering it on the league for the entire season now. He first condemned the early start, then spoke against the organizing of ASG, and further bashed the play-in tournament.

The 60-YO legend backed that as he agreed, “LeBron knows better than anybody what he’s been through with his body, being in the finals year-in and year-out more than anybody. So he understands that there is a clock tick. So if you rush it, and that’s what happened in the bubble… guys were mentally out of way, no fans, away from families, they did have to play and turn around in 71 days. It squeezed the hell out of them…” 

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However, each of these remarks is falling on deaf ears as the league has no response whatsoever. Plus, these injuries and another short off-season would mean that 2021-22 might see a similar story. What are your thoughts on this? Help us know if you have any advice for Adam Silver in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1424 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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