LeBron James has played all or part of 15 seasons in the NBA, but he’d never been ejected from a game. That speaks to his level-headed nature on the court, for sure, as well as his talent; if you basically do whatever you want on the floor, there’s generally no need to get upset.
It also speaks to the treatment he’s received from officials throughout his tenure on top of the sport. Through 1,297 regular season and playoff games, not once did an official deem LeBron’s behavior worthy of a second technical, despite his 76 career techs, much less an outright ejection.
That all changed tonight, when LeBron was tossed for protesting a non-call after being bodied by Dion Waiters:
It’s worth noting that Waiters is probably on the shortlist of guys LeBron would despise being blocked by, which may have contributed to his reaction. Plus there’s the residual effect of wanting to win in Miami, the city and team LeBron left but didn’t return to. Still, the Cavs ended up winning 108-97, and LeBron got some minutes off.
Here’s what it took for James to get tossed, according to official Kane Fitzgerald:
Your explanation for LeBron's ejection pic.twitter.com/kqAIoQaUi6
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 29, 2017
It really is fascinating that he’s never been tossed until now, but hey, referees know what’s best for business. Frankly, that’s to be applauded; we get annoyed when MLB umpires make things all about themselves, and aside from a few showboating officials, NBA refs tend to know we’re watching for the players, and specifically the star players.
The best evidence of all?
In 1,251 career games, Michael Jordan’s total number of ejections: 0.
UPDATE: Apparently ESPN’s stats page is broken, because Jordan was in fact ejected at least once, and maybe more times. I regret ESPN’s error.
— texasseanpatf (@TexasSeanPatF) November 29, 2017