It happened. LeBron was finally called for a frame-by-frame recreation of The Travel. And against the poor Washington Wizards of all teams – LeBron’s original victims. Amazing. The NBA’s officiating is in such a sorry state that it is nearly impossible for anyone to believe that LeBron could actually be whistled for traveling, even when it is the most painfully obvious example of traveling possible (I’ll get to that later). So unbelievable that when he is called out, it becomes a major media event. Check out Caron Butler’s reaction after the game: It’s a travel. It was the exact same move two years ago in the playoffs. I definitely knew he traveled, but I didn’t think they were gonna call it…But that was one of them situations in which a great player made a move, good officiation, and they called the call. And I was just like, ‘Aw, man. There is a God. There is a God.’
That a professional basketball player could have such an extreme reaction to this whole crab dribble travel call episode really says it all. Caron Butler evidently feels that it requires some kind of divine intervention in order for LeBron to be correctly charged with a traveling violation. Or, at the very least, that such a call constitutes proof of the existence of GOD.
Of course, this was a meaningless game, and a pretty safe game for the refs to have grown a conscience. LeBron has been pulling this shit in the playoffs for years. If a playoff game is close in the fourth quarter, the crab is guaranteed to make an appearance or two. Or twelve. I bet that won’t change this year or ever.
Anyway, back to the story…as with most King James fiascos, LeBron’s obnoxious reaction is more than half the fun. How pathetic is it that LeBron has the nerve to 1. complain to the refs about such a valid call (including a re-enactment to the ref during the game – where was the tech!?), 2. claim that even after he had seen the tape in the locker room that it was still not a travel and then 3. be so bold as to go in front of the media and bitch about it knowing full well that he has won entire playoffs series on no-calls from the same move. Answer: it is quite pathetic. And he kept bitching about it the day after the game, after having the benefit of watching it replayed on sportscenter 600 times:
On Sunday, James said it was a “bad call” and that “they need to look at it and they need to understand that’s not a travel.” In giving his take on what happened, James said: “I watched it again, and I took a ‘crab dribble,’ which is a hesitation dribble, and then two steps.”
Ugh. LeBron must honestly believe that he can do no wrong.
Unfortunately, apart from racking up a meaningless loss against a non-contender, LeBron came away from this episode completely unscathed, as usual - he wasn’t given a tech for complaining directly to the ref (Oh, I’m sorry – explaining to the ref) and he wasn’t fined for repeatedly and directly criticizing the officiating after the game (are they going to return Eddie Jordan’s $25K for complaining about a no-call on the very same move back in 2006?).
One more item of note – the valiant Mr. Potato Head made a point to get thrown out of the game arguing a charging foul called on LeBron (LeBron’s other signature move). He couldn’t just sit by and watch LeBron being so blatantly subjected to the rules of basketball for an entire game. The officiating was just so terribly fair that night, apparently.
Because Mr. Potato Head and many reporters are apparently retarded and because LeBron apparently has some psychological condition that prevents him from viewing rapidly moving images on a television screen and processing them properly in his LeBrain, let’s break this shit down, frame-by-frame, by using youtube and the offical NBA rulebook. And Jalen Rose.
First, the rule:
a. A player who receives the ball while standing still may pivot, using either foot as the pivot foot.
b. A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may use a two-count rhythm in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball.
The first count occurs:
(1) As he receives the ball, if either foot is touching the floor at the time he receives it.
(2) As the foot touches the floor, or as both feet touch the floor simultaneously after he receives the ball, if both feet are off the floor when he receives it.
The second occurs:
(1) After the count of one when either foot touches the floor, or both feet touch the floor simultaneously.
c. A player who comes to a stop on the count of one may pivot, using either foot as the pivot foot.
d. A player who comes to a stop on the count of two, with one foot in advance of the other, may pivot using only the rear foot as the pivot foot.
e. A player who comes to a stop on the count of two, with neither foot in advance of the other, may use either foot as the pivot foot.
f. In starting a dribble after (1) receiving the ball while standing still, or (2) coming to a legal stop, the ball must be out of the player’s hand before the pivot foot is raised off the floor.
g. If a player, with the ball in his possession, raises his pivot foot off the floor, he must pass or shoot before his pivot foot returns to the floor. If he drops the ball while in the air, he may not be the first to touch the ball.
h. A player who falls to the floor while holding the ball, or while coming to a stop, may not gain an advantage by sliding.
i. A player who attempts a field goal may not be the first to touch the ball if it fails to touch the backboard, basket ring or another player.
PENALTY: Loss of ball. The ball is awarded to the opposing team at the sideline, nearest spot of the violation but no nearer the baseline than the foul line extended.
Okay – so the NBA rulebook isn’t as crystal-clear as it could be. However, after much difficulty, it is possible to translate this strangely-worded crap and come away with the fact that you get TWO STEPS after picking up your dribble in most situations. I think. Anyway – let’s assume two. It’s certainly not more than two, in any situation, obviously.
On to the visual evidence and Jalen Rose (hope they don’t pull this video down):
Wow – I think that may have actually been five steps.
Also, the feud kinda lives. Injured DeShawn Steven was apparently taunting from the sidelines in a ridiculous purple velvet suit and bowtie. I would have loved to have heard what kind of vicious trash talk DeShawn Stevenson was dishing out immediately following that travel call. Of course, LeBron refused to participate in the back-and-forth because he is above all that. And because he couldn’t say a damn thing.