LeBron not convinced he walked
By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer Jan 6, 6:08 pm EST
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP)—LeBron James is still talkin’ the walk.
Two days after he was surprisingly whistled for traveling in the closing seconds of Cleveland’s 80-77 loss at Washington, James maintains his “crab dribble” was legal and that he has no plans to remove it from his arsenal.
The Cavaliers superstar was adamant after the game that he didn’t walk. He said it was a “bad call” and that “they (the NBA) need to look at it and they need to understand that’s not a travel.”
King James hasn’t changed his stance.
“I’ve done that move plenty of times and I believe it’s a good move,” he said after practice on Tuesday. “If they called it more consistently, then I guess it ain’t a good move then and I’ll change my game. But it’s not called consistently.”
James was driving for a potential tying basket when referee Bill Spooner called him for the traveling violation. James was stunned and so were many of the Wizards, who have complained in the past that James takes extra steps when he attacks the basket.
Spooner explained his call in an e-mail: “3 steps on the move to the basket. Basic travel call.”
An NBA spokesman said the league supports Spooner’s call.
The did-he-or-didn’t-he-walk debate has raged since the final horn, much to James’ amusement.
“Everything I do is a big deal,” James said, smiling. “It’s easy for people who don’t play the game of basketball to say something about a certain move. You hear all the people on SportsCenter talk about it, but they’ve never touched a basketball in their lives. They just report about it.”
James appreciates how difficult it is for officials to make split-second decisions in a game where the players are getting bigger, faster and stronger each year.
“It’s definitely tough,” he said. “We all make mistakes. I’m not downplaying the refs because they do an unbelievable job. I couldn’t do it. It is tough because guys can do a lot of things that they couldn’t do back in the 60s and 70s.”
James raised some eyebrows when he called his infamous move at Washington a “crab dribble,” an unknown term to most league observers.
He described it as a hesitation dribble he uses to slow down the defense before he accelerates toward the rim. James feels he should be entitled to two steps once he stops dribbling.
“If they take it away like they’ve done before with the hop step, I’ll find a way to do something else,” he said.
During his first two seasons, James often was called for traveling when he would hop on both feet while taking a layup. The league cracked down on his patented move, forcing him to do other things but hardly interrupting his ascent to stardom.
“How have I fared after that?” he deadpanned. “I’ll be fine if they take this away, too.”