LeBron James won an unofficial award in a recent informal poll among NBA executives, officials and scouts, but it is not one that the Los Angeles Lakers star desires. According to Woelfel’s Press Box, James is considered the “biggest whiner” in the NBA in a small poll conducted by longtime NBA writer Gery Woelfel.
“In an informal survey of four NBA officials — an NBA exec, two scouts and a coach – there was one player who clearly stood above the others when it comes to complaining on the court,” Woelfel detailed. “That’s LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.”
Woelfel went on to relay some of the comments he received from NBA scouts and executives. While most agreed that James has a bad habit of frequently complaining, some were willing to give the superstar the benefit of the doubt.
“LeBron is whining all the time,’’ a veteran scout said of James. “He’s been a whiner since day one.’’
Added another longtime scout: “LeBron sure does (whine). But you know what? When I’ve seen him complain to an official, he’s usually right.’’
The executive said since James has been and still is the face of the NBA, he has exceptional clout, that he’s been granted considerably more latitude to complain about officials.
“Whatever LeBron wants, LeBron gets,’’ the exec said. “He’s beyond reproach. He really is. And he knows it.’’
LeBron Received Pushback for His Comments About the Play-in Tournament
James’ criticism about the play-in tournament went viral and the Lakers star received pushback about the timing of his complaint. With the Lakers likely heading to the play-in, James chose to go on a rant about the concept which was admittedly suspect timing.
“Well, it doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, if I’m not 100%, close to 100%, it don’t matter where we land,” James explained in a May 3rd press conference. “That’s my mindset. If we end up at six or fifth or whatever the case may be, or we end up in the playoff, whatever that thing is. Whoever came up with that s— need to be fired.”
Evan Wasch, who is the NBA executive vice president of basketball strategy and analytics, is the person responsible for the tournament. Wasch graciously responded to James’ call for his job noting the league “welcome[s] feedback from our players and teams.”
“Obviously, we welcome feedback from our players and teams,” Wasch told The Washington Post. “But, on balance, we believe the play-in tournament offers more benefits than downsides. …You’ve significantly increased the competitive incentive in a much wider swath of the standings [for teams] to want to move up. The intent is to give more teams, more markets and more fans the feeling they still have something to play for. On that basis, it’s absolutely been successful.”
The Survey Took Place Prior to James Being Poked in the Eye by Green
As for complaining to the officials, James may get the brunt of the criticism, but there are plenty of NBA stars who have made a habit of complaining after every call. Luka Doncic, Devin Booker, Trae Young, Chris Paul and Draymond Green were just a few of the additional players that were frequently mentioned in Woelfel’s survey.
The recent poll took place before James found himself under fire again after the Lakers’ play-in game victory over the Warriors. James was poked in the eye by Draymond Green and noted in a postgame interview that he could not see after the incident, despite hitting a clutch fourth-quarter three-pointer to help the Lakers pull off a comeback win. James’ claim was met with skepticism on social media from fans and NBA players alike, including Blazers guard C.J. McCollum.