LeBron James wanted to vent after the Lakers lost a coach’s challenge of a foul call late in their game Wednesday night, so he went to a few familar faces.
James strolled to the ESPN broadcast table and delivered a real-time, on-air critique of the officials to game analyst Jeff Van Gundy, play-by-play announcer Mark Jones and fellow analyst Mark Jackson.
“That was a bad call,” James could be heard saying, referring to referee Zach Zarba’s upheld ruling that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made contact with the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram on a jump shot.
James then leaned in and appeared to fault Zarba and his colleagues for having too much pride.
“The ref makes that call, he don’t ever want to be wrong,” James said. “They’re never going to overturn it, ever. Ever.”
The NBA issued issued a statement in support of the officials early Thursday, saying there was no evidence to overturn the call that LA coach Frank Vogel challenged.
Coach’s Challenge (LAL): foul assessed to Caldwell-Pope in Q4 of #LALatNOP. Ruling: Unsuccessful challenge, foul stands (officials called foul for contact with Ingram’s elbow as he began upward shooting motion, no clear + conclusive visual evidence to overturn call on the floor). pic.twitter.com/TMIn6ZG0X6
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) November 28, 2019
In the end, the foul call didn’t hurt the Lakers, who won 114-110 in Anthony Davis’ first visit to New Orleans since forcing an offseason trade from the Pelicans to the Lakers. Davis scored 41 points despite suffering an elbow injury in the second half.
James finished with 29 points and 11 assists as the Lakers improved to an NBA-best 16-2. James also became the fourth player in NBA history to reach 33,000 points in his career, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant.