There's a special status that comes with being an NBA superstar these days.
It's not just the lucrative contracts and the lavish lifestyles of superstardom, it's the way NBA stars like LeBron James are treated by referees. Far more often than the league would care to admit players like James get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to foul calls. On Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Toronto Raptors got to see firsthand exactly what that treatment looks like.
Late in the second quarter, James received a pass from Anthony Davis and spun around to go up for a quick layup. Just as he was about to take off, Stanley Johnson appeared to knick him on the head leading to a foul call.
If you look closely, however, that's not exactly what happened.
Johnson barely made contact — if at all — with James' head and James immediately grabbed the left side of his head despite the so-called contact occurring on the right side.
Well, the basketball gods were watching over Toronto. James missed the first of his two free throws and, of course, the Raptors got the last laugh knocking off the Lakers 121-114 on Sunday.
Despite scoring zero points, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said he was impressed with Johnson' defence on James. He held James to 12 points on 24.62 partial possessions, according to NBA Stats.