Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James "turned everybody off" when speaking at a meeting Wednesday night when players gathered to discuss whether to resume the playoffs, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith said.
Smith was speaking on First Take and pointed specifically to the younger players at the meeting.
“I heard he was speaking out of pocket and in a fashion that really turned some of these young cats off,” Smith said. “This is a new day. It’s a new generation. As we have said on previous shows, when the younger generation was protesting in the streets, they’re not having it anymore.
"Well guess what? The younger generation of players were not having what they were hearing from LeBron James because of the fashion in which he spoke to them.”
James and his Lakers teammates initially voted to cancel the rest of the playoffs (as did the Los Angeles Clippers), per Shams Charania of The Athletic, as the players boycotted games to bring awareness to social injustice.
According to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, an angry James stormed out of the meeting shortly after casting his vote. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer cited a source that described the meeting as "dysfunctional" after players asked coaches to leave.
"With emotions all over the place, (Miami Heat center Udonis) Haslem pressed James and asked the star what he planned to do, reminding him that he’s the face of the league and it goes as he goes,' Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported.
"James then said, 'We’re out,' and walked out with almost all of his teammates following behind, sources said, with Dwight Howard being the only Laker who remained."
Players from all the other teams voted to resume the season, which was the ultimate decision. James reportedly later agreed with that decision.
The playoffs are scheduled to resume Saturday on the Disney campus. Smith's take on James and the meeting can be seen in the video below.