LeBron James is not used to flying under the radar.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star has been a lightning rod for just about everything in his career, but with the attention in today’s NBA focused squarely on Steph Curry, we find ourselves missing the LeBron controversies of yesteryear.
As King James tries to lead the Cavs to a title, we decided to rank the most overblown playoff controversies of LeBron's career.
5. Taking off his jersey after the Celtics series
Okay, to be fair, LeBron did leave Cleveland after this game. But people take off their jersey after every single game! How long was he supposed to wait? You know how sweaty those things get?
4. Not shaking hands with the Magic
After playing a hard-fought, six-game series that to this day is arguably the best of his career, LeBron didn’t shake hands with Magic players when he walked off the court at the end of the 2009 East Finals. If Michael had done this, we would have praised his competitiveness. (I mean, just look at the ridiculous subtitles in that YouTube video.)
3. Celebrating too much after beating the Celtics
The Celtics were certainly LeBron’s biggest nemesis for much of his career. There’s no doubt legitimate bad blood exists between LeBron and Paul Pierce. (Throw KG in there, too.) Heck, you could argue the Celtics are the No. 1 reason LeBron was driven to Miami. So it shouldn’t have been surprising James and Dwyane Wade were emotional after beating Boston during their first playoff run in Miami. Somehow, James was criticized for being too happy about the win. Maybe he was just celebrating how clutch he was down the stretch.
2. Being called “overrated” by DeShawn Stevenson
Do we care what DeShawn Stevenson has to say? Unsurprisingly, the Cavaliers beat the Wizards in the playoff series following Stevenson’s comments. We were treated with an awful Jay Z diss track, though.
1. Passing to Donyell Marshall
Anytime someone passes to a wide-open corner three in 2016, an analytics proponent earns their wings. When LeBron did it at the end of a playoff game, the world almost ended.