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The Extra Point

LeBron displays attitude

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In Game 5 of the Western Conference Playoffs between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James was seen walking off the court with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter.

No, James wasn't injured.

He wasn't being removed due to a hostile crowd.

No, he walked off the court because he lacks sportsmanship.

His Los Angeles Lakers were getting blown out, 105-73 at that specific moment.

There's no denying LeBron has been one of the best basketball players for the better part of two decades.

But this is just poor in every sense of the word.

There's been so much conversation about whether or not LeBron is the greatest of all time, in the conversation, or just a wannabe pretender.

I can't help but think he's just a great athlete, a top-end basketball player, and nothing more.

From all the flops, to the whining and coddling he receives, it's just hard to put him in the same conversation as the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell and countless others.

I get we live in a different era and athletes are built differently these days.

But look at another NBA star who just got torched in the Eastern Conference Playoffs-Jimmy Butler.

Butler, like LeBron, played in the NBA Finals in the bubble last season.

Butler is a current star of the NBA.

No, he's not on the LeBron James level, but who is?

Butler and the Heat just got swept in four games in a series that was largely non-competitive.

Were there any noticeable flops by Butler?

Did he walk off the court in shame with over five minutes left in a game after being blown out?

LeBron expects to be revered as the greatest to ever grace the beloved game of basketball, but there's more to being the greatest than what's on the court.

And simply put, LeBron doesn't have it. He never has and he never will.

Again, there's no denying the fact he is one of the most gifted athletes to ever step foot on a basketball court.

It's time the members of the media and NBA treat him for what he is-just another gifted player.

Two weeks ago, LeBron violated the NBA's policy on COVID-19 protocol and attended an event to promote his tequila company.

For any normal player, this would have been an immediate quarantine.

LeBron barely got a slap on the wrist by the league and by in large was given a pass in the media.

The Lakers finished their playoff exit with a Game 6 loss to the Suns.

So what's next for LeBron?

What would a Kobe Bryant or Micheal Jordan do after a first-round playoff loss?

It's fair to say LeBron is likely past his prime playing career, so what kind of role will he transition to next season?

I just want to reiterate, I have never, nor am I currently saying, LeBron isn't one of the best basketball players to ever play.

And yes, I realize he just won a title less than year ago in the bubble.

But actions like storming off the court, milking plays and consistently flopping do not warrant inclusion into the conversation as the best to ever play the game.

You don't get to near 20 years in the NBA as one of the best by accident.

But if it floats like a duck and quacks like a duck, there's a good chance it's not a cow.

Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.

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