Did LeBron James Openly Defy Dave Blatt During The Finals?


LeBron James’ leadership skills are being called about by a writer for ESPN. Mark Stein wrote a piece criticizing James, saying that his actions towards Cavs rookie head coach David Blatt throughout the finals, was “unbecoming” of someone of LeBron’s stature.

Stein says that LeBron undermined Blatt’s authority during the finals series against the Warriors by calling timeouts, changing substitutions and even forcing Blatt to change a play drawn up during a time out.

And we likewise saw LeBron emasculate David Blatt in ways that are simply unbecoming of a player of James’ legend-in-the-making stature. I saw it from close range in my role as sideline reporter through the Finals for ESPN Radio. LeBron essentially calling timeouts and making substitutions. LeBron openly barking at Blatt after decisions he didn’t like. LeBron huddling frequently with Lue and so often looking at anyone other than Blatt.

There was LeBron, in one instance I witnessed from right behind the bench, shaking his head vociferously in protest after one play Blatt drew up in the third quarter of Game 5, amounting to the loudest nonverbal scolding you could imagine.

Which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.

Every team and coaching situation works different. But you have to imagine that if Bron is giving off the message that Blatt isn’t worth listening too, other players will follow that line of thinking. Blatt has had a few blunders this season – what rookie coach wouldn’t – but the timeout incident during the Bulls series, is probably the one that remains embedded in most fans minds.

Blatt signed a four-year deal with the Cavaliers, before LeBron announced he was returning to Cleveland.