Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives against the...

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of an NBA basketball in-season tournament game, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, in Phoenix. Credit: AP/Matt York

PHOENIX — Even NBA star LeBron James is relishing the chance to tease Michigan over its college football sign-stealing scandal.

The 19-time All-Star took a light-hearted swipe at the Wolverines and coach Jim Harbaugh in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

James grew up in Ohio, home to Michigan's biggest rival: Ohio State. He said the Lakers were able to decipher some of Suns coach Frank Vogel’s signals on the sideline because the team is familiar with him. Vogel coached the Lakers when they won their 2020 title in the NBA’s Florida bubble.

“The best thing about tonight is we were able to get those signals and we’ll still be able to play on Sunday,” James said, referring to his team's next game. “We won’t get suspended, like that team up north.”

The Big Ten Conference banned Harbaugh from coaching at Michigan’s three remaining regular-season games on Friday, escalating an extraordinary confrontation with college football’s winningest program over a sign-stealing scheme that has rocked the sport.

The discipline was announced less than 24 hours before kickoff at No. 9 Penn State. The second-ranked Wolverines (9-0) have a shot to win a third straight Big Ten title and the school’s first national championship since 1997.

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) runs up court...

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) runs up court against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, in Phoenix. Credit: AP/Matt York

AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.

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