LOS ANGELES — LeBron James knows he was wrong to snub the Magic and the media, and David Stern decided the NBA was wrong when it didn’t punish the MVP for it. So the commissioner changed his mind and fined James $25,000 for skipping the postgame news conference after Cleveland lost to Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals. Stern said Thursday night that he spoke with the Cavaliers star on Wednesday, a day after James had surgery to remove a benign growth near his jaw, and that James admitted he was wrong to not congratulate Orlando’s players and coaches after the loss.
“He asked that I express to the media, the Magic and the fans his apology, and particularly the young fans, because he knows he has a responsibility to all of our fans, and that sportsmanship is appropriate whether you win or whether you lose,” Stern said near the start of his annual NBA finals press conference.
“He understands why it was necessary for me to fine him $25,000 for missing the media availability.” The league first said James wouldn’t be penalized, citing his usual cooperation with the press. Stern said he reconsidered after thinking about it more.
Why is Sterno speaking on Baby LeBron’s behalf? Maybe MVP stands for Most Valuable Pouter. -TO