BOSTON (CBS) — LeBron James went for a casual stroll in Utah on Wednesday night. It’s garnered a lot of attention because he did so with the basketball in his hand, and wasn’t called for travel.
The travel-that-wasn’t happened in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s Lakers win over the Jazz. James was bringing the ball up the floor as he has done a billion times before, but shortly after he crossed midcourt, he picked up his dribble. He then proceeded to take a step. Then another. Then another. And then a half step, before putting the ball on the floor again.
That’s a travel in any rule book. But no travel was called, much to the chagrin of Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic, who begged with the official to blow their whistle after LeBron’s steps. That request was not granted.
Bron went for a walk 😂 pic.twitter.com/aLOlXpmrnu
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 5, 2019
Woof. In the official’s defense, they weren’t look at James at the time of the travel, because chances are nothing is going to happen when one of the best players in the game is casually bringing the ball up the floor. Bogdanovic wasn’t even defending him at the time.
Plus, there was something else going on down the floor. James said after the game that he was distracted by a collision between Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Donovan Mitchell, causing him to forget to dribble the ball. Maybe that’s what caught the official’s eyes too.
“I think I was ready to pass the ball, and my brain just kind of just, I had a malfunction. I really had a malfunction,” said James, via ESPN.com.
Utah fans peppered James throughout the game, which he seemed to enjoy, and he even had some fun with the play after the game.
“It was the worst thing, probably one of the worst things I’ve ever done in my career. I didn’t realize I did it until halftime. One of my coaches showed me,” he said. “I feel bad for the refs on that one because they’ll probably get a write-up on that or something. That was pretty bad.”
James didn’t really gain an advantage on the play, and the Lakers ended up winning the game by 25 points. James poured in 20 points and 12 assists, and knows that he was lucky to only have one turnover in his final line.
But in a year dominated by missed calls and useless replay reviews, it’s pretty rib-tickling to see one as egregious as Wednesday night’s travel go in favor of a guy like LeBron James. If you thought NFL officiating was bad, the NBA has taken it to a whole new level.