Skip on LeBron’s ejection: ‘I do not think LeBron should’ve been ejected… He is not officiated fairly’
Reacting to LeBron James' ejection in the Cavs' win over the Miami Heat, Skip Bayless reveals to Shannon Sharpe that although LeBron shouldn't have used any colorful language towards the referee, The King shouldn't be officiated differently based on his size and force in which he plays.
- I am going to defend your man, LeBron to start with. And then I'm not going to defend your man, LeBron. But on your points, that you just made, about should he or should he not have been ejected, I do not think he should have been ejected. I agree with every point you just made. LeBron is not officiated fairly in the paint. He's just not, and it is Shaq syndrome. And I've said it before on this show and I will continue to say it. He is so big, and so powerful, and so quick, that I think the referees see him as, at any moment that he chooses to, he can get to the rim. And they think he is so skilled, ambidextrous obviously, that they just think, come on, you can make that shot anyway. There's a little body contact, and there was a lot of body contact on this play. He didn't get arm fouled, he can get hand fouled, but--
SHANNON SHARPE: he bodied him up.
- He bodied him up. And LeBron made the point-- I haven't even looked at the video-- but he said he got fouled all the way up to court after he took the ball from James Johnson. So he stole it, and then-- I haven't looked at it here-- if he rode him all the way up to court. But whatever, that was LeBron's contention, that it was a lengthy foul that continued all the way into the paint. Then he gets body fouled. I'm sure there had been other non-calls. Because remember he shot one free throw--
SHANNON SHARPE: One.
- --for the game. So at that point, we're late in the third quarter. He'd scored 21 points on 10 of 16 shots and he'd gone to the free throw line one time.
SHANNON SHARPE: Once.
- I'm with you on all of the above. And yet I do disagree. I get magic word, but I think we all know LeBron, on the court, is a class act.
SHANNON SHARPE: He is.
- He is the face of the National Basketball Association. And I have seen him go off on referees before even worse than this time. And he did lose it for a second. But this is his 15th year. He is clearly-- he is the definition of superstar. So this referee, who's only 36 years of age. So he's not that much-- he sort of grew up in the LeBron era.
- He's three years older than LeBron would be--
SKIP BAYLESS: OK.
- --33 when, at the end of December.
- So he should get this, right? He should feel like LeBron's kind of a contemporary and he should have a younger school mind than an old school, maybe an old-- But really, the old school refs, they knew a long time ago--
SHANNON SHARPE: Dick Bavetta, Joey Crawford. None of those guys--
- What you do is, you take this the first salvo and you give them a tap.
SHANNON SHARPE: Right.
- And then you turn, and you try to walk away, and you hope they walk away. But like Coach Popovich got thrown out the other night because he wanted to. So he got restrained by the other assistants and then he tore away from them, and he went back a second time. Boom, you're gone. Because he wanted to be gone. LeBron did not want to be gone. So the techs came, bang. But I don't-- I can't even really see the second technical get called.
SHANNON SHARPE: I think he gave more than just like--
- Right. And then he threw him without even doing a second T, right?
- Which is outrageously wrong. It's just not-- it's an unwritten rule that you have to give a star a chance to cool off a little bit. Just let-- just turn away from it.
- Well, normally if you watch Bill Kennedy and some of the guys, they'll do this: "OK, that's enough"
- "OK, that's enough." But if you say the magic word, OK, boom, you get a tech.
SHANNON SHARPE: Right.
- But he'd never been thrown out in 1,000 and 82 regular season games. And then you run him instantaneously? That's just wrong. And again, he's going to go down in history-- I think he'll wind up being the only ref who ever ejected LeBron James.
- I guarantee you in 10 years, 15 years from now, he will be a Jeopardy question.
SKIP BAYLESS: Maybe.
- Name the official that threw LeBron James out of his first, and only ever NBA game.
SKIP BAYLESS: Who was-- I hope I'm on that night. Who is Kane Fitzgerald? You know, Ernestine says I should be on "Jeopardy." She's trying to get me on there.
- I'd blow the doors of you, Skip.
SKIP BAYLESS: Are you kidding me?
- I've been on it and won. I've been on it and won.
- You won on "Jeopardy"?
SHANNON SHARPE: Yeah! Beat Holly Robinson Peete and the-- the lady was going to-- yeah!
- Oh, I would take you in "Jeopardy" any time--
- Won a Sony T--
- --any day, any night.
- Won a Sony TV. Got me a stereo system, and I won some money for cerebral palsy.
- We'll have to get on there sometime.
- We have to make that happen.
- So back to Kane Fitzgerald. So, 36 years of age. This is his ninth NBA season. But I look at, how did he become an NBA ref? Because he started reffing when most kids are actually playing basketball.
SHANNON SHARPE: Yeah.
- He was 18 years old and he's reffing high school and some smaller college games at 18. So he's sort of a reffing prodigy but he didn't obviously play basketball. He starts out reffing Ohio Valley, Atlantic Sun, Big South. These are very small D1 conferences, right?
SHANNON SHARPE: Need to go back.
- And then he does some D-league, and he does WNBA, and all of a sudden he's in the NBA, but he's been in it for nine years. So he was a prodigy ref, you know?
- I'd never heard of--
- Boy Wonder.
- Had you ever--
SKIP BAYLESS: No, I did not know him.
- --heard of him before last night?
- I knew his face. But I didn't-- I'd never looked up his name before. Which is a good thing because you shouldn't know who they are because they should be mostly invisible. So I got all that. I'm with you on all that. But here's my problem with the whole scenario that you just outlined about Tom Brady. It's late in the third quarter, the Cavaliers, at home, are ahead 93 to 70 and my question always is the same question. LeBron is in his 15th year. Why is he still in the game? What are you doing? He is leading, once again, the NBA, the entire NBA, in minutes played. What are you doing? What is your goal? To be fresh for the stretch run of the season, as you-- in your 15th year? But wouldn't you say that's kind of in the winter of your career?