LeBron James fined by NBA for obscene gesture, foul language warning

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NBA superstar LeBron James capped off a rough week when he was admonished by the league for his antics including cursing out fans and uncouth conduct for an obscene gesture that the Los Angeles Lakers forward made during a game against the Indiana Pacers.

Forced to respond to the actions of the man who has trashed its once solid gold brand with his reprehensible on-court conduct and poor message discipline on Twitter, the NBA slapped King James with a fine of $15,000 for his gesture along with a warning about using foul language, something that he does frequently.

The obscene gesture that resulted in the fine came after James drained a key 3-pointer in Wednesday’s 124-116 overtime victory at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis when he celebrated by grabbing his crotch as he danced down the court, hardly the type of family-friendly behavior that the league wants to showcase as it struggles to draw fans domestically.

While the fine is chump change for James who has parlayed his uncanny ability to dunk a basketball into a fortune as one of the world’s wealthiest sports figures, it is an embarrassing rebuke to a man who becomes more polarizing and unlikable as his stellar career winds down.

The league also admonished its scowling public face for his cussing, most recently dropping an “F-bomb” on a pair of white fans who he had thrown out of the arena during the game against the Pacers after they said something that was hurtful to his feelings, sending the term “LeSnitch” trending on Twitter.

James’ statement to the media after the fan incident smacked of hypocrisy.

“There’s a difference between cheering on your home faithful, booing opponents, not wanting your opponents to be successful and there’s then moments where it goes outside the line with obscene gestures and words,” he said, according to USA Today. “There’s a difference from cheering for your team and not wanting the other team to win and things I would never say to a fan and they shouldn’t say to me.”

It is unclear exactly what the fans said that triggered James.

According to a brief statement released by the NBA on Friday announcing the disciplinary measure against its star player: “Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has been fined $15,000 for making an obscene gesture on the playing court and warned for using profane language during media availability in response to league imposed discipline, it was announced today by Byron Spruell, President, League Operations.”

In addition to swearing at the two fans whom he had ejected, James also popped off to ESPN over his one-game suspension for a vicious cheap shot in a game against the Detroit Pistons.

“I mean, it’s some bullsh*t. But whatever,” he told the network.

James is once again trending on Twitter after the Lakers’ loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday night, a triple-overtime thriller in which he wisely refrained from any additional celebrations.

Also contributing to King James’ lousy week was the attention brought to his silence on the abominable human rights record of China – a gargantuan market that the NBA is salivating over – after Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter called him out for his “sad & disgusting” attitude in an epic tweet that portrayed a gold crown being placed on his head by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Kanter tweeted “Money over Morals for the “King” who he said really does “’shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss says so,” with an emoji of a Chinese flag. He added, the taunt “Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

James responded to reporters following the game against Kanter’s Celtics, indignantly huffing, “Uhhhm, nothing if you know me, I don’t really give too many people my energy.”

“And you know, he’s definitely not someone I would give my energy to, um, you know trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself. I definitely won’t comment too much on that, if anything that’ll be where I lay that at,” he added.

To his credit, he didn’t use profanity but it is indisputable that he is rapidly becoming a big problem for the image-conscious NBA as it seeks to salvage its once “Fan-Tastic” brand.

Chris Donaldson

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