LeBron James may still get a slap on the wrist for his failure to slap five with Dwight Howard and for failing to address the media after the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals last Saturday. Despite an initial announcement on Monday by the NBA that a fine would not be assessed to the league's MVP, commissioner David Stern on Tuesday said he is still looking into the situation.
"I'm in the process of making a phone call or two now to talk to LeBron," Stern said as a guest on ESPN Radio Colin Cowherd's show.
When asked if he wasn't happy with James' actions, Stern replied, "I think that's fair to say."
James walked off the court at Amway Arena following a 103-90 loss in Game 6 that knocked the top-seeded Cavs out of the playoffs one step before a highly-anticipated battle verses Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Howard's Magic will instead open the Finals Thursday in Los Angeles. It is the first Finals appearance for Orlando since 1995.
Howard after the game said he felt slighted by James, his Olympic teammate in Beijing last summer, when he did not offer him any congratulations after the game. James said he e-mailed Howard on Sunday and explained why he walked off the floor without doing so in person.
"It's hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them," James told reporters in Cleveland on Sunday. "I'm a winner. It's not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you're not going to congratulate them. That doesn't make sense to me. I'm a competitor. That's what I do. It doesn't make sense for me to go over and shake somebody's hand."
Stern said he wanted to discuss these comments with James and would not offer his thoughts on it until after he spoke with him. When asked which upset him more, failing to show sportsmanship to Howard or blowing off the media (the NBA has previously fined players - and teams - for refusing to talk to the media after playoff games), Stern implied that both were an issue.
"One goes to rules and the other goes to values," Stern said. "I think both of them should be followed. There should be high values and the rules should be followed."