Well this is a back-handed compliment if I’ve ever heard one.
Miami Heat forward Lebron James, has been receiving criticism for his comments about the officiating following Wednesday night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, which snapped the team’s 27-game winning streak.
Boston Celtics president of operations Danny Ainge, ripped the Heat’s superstar for his comments, and according to a story via ESPN Chicago, Bulls forward Taj Gibson, also took a subtle jab at James while masking it in a compliment.
“I think he’s too good of a player to do that,” Gibson said on “The Carmen & Jurko Show” on ESPN 1000.
“You just play, two teams really going out there and play hard, going to the basket extremely hard and physical.”
James, called out Gibson and point guard Kirk Hinrich, for their rough play, including a moment where he accused the Bulls forward for collaring him.
“Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say [what I want to say],” James said after the game. “I believe and I know that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays. First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not defensive & those are not basketball plays.”
Gibson says it wasn’t an intentional play, and that he was surprised at James’ comments.
“I didn’t try to collar him,” Gibson said. “I just fouled him. It wasn’t intentionally.
“I just tried to make a play on the ball, but I fouled him. When he fell, it looked like I collared him. I was really trying to grab him, just not hold him up. Nobody was intentionally trying to hurt anybody out there. When he said those comments, I was really shocked. But it’s part of the game, I guess.”
The Bulls forward said the reigning champions shouldn’t be surprised by their style of play after their many encounters, and that the last time they faced the Heat, a blowout defeat had them motivated to come back stronger this time.
“Every game we played them was a physical game,” Gibson said. “You’re going to know things are like that; tough, hard fouls are going to be called. You just can’t expect the games to be so lightly taken after you just blew us out by 20 the last time we played you guys.”
“They really embarrassed us the last time we played in Chicago. And we really didn’t like how they celebrated. So we just came out, put forth more effort and guys stepped up.”
This isn’t James’ first runaround with the Bulls, he knows that they play a hard and physical style of basketball, so he shouldn’t be surprised by the rough treatment he got in that game.
I just think it comes down to the fact that, he’s a student of the game and was probably upset that they let the chance to surpass a historic milestone slip through their fingers.