MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — LeBron James thought he added to his legacy with another big shot on his 39th birthday.
The NBA’s replay center had a different view, causing James to call out the league’s replay process.
James made what he believed was a game-tying 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining as the Los Angeles Lakers were playing on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the top team in the Western Conference.
However, it was ruled a 2-pointer and upheld via replay from the league’s replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey, and the Lakers lost 108-106 on Saturday night.
“It’s obviously a 3,” James said. “My foot is behind the line. I mean, you can see the space between the front of my foot and the 3-point line. You can clearly see a white, the wood on the floor, there’s a space in between the front of my foot and the 3-point line. So, you know, Stevie Wonder can see that, champ.”
James, who spent the day in bed with a non-COVID-19 illness, scored 26 points, 10 in the fourth quarter. But it was his shot, and the subsequent replay, that caused his ire toward the league’s replay center.
“They said it was out of their hands,” James said of the explanation he got from officials. “The Secaucus, whatever, over there in the replay center or whatever, somebody over there eating a ham sandwich or somebody made the call.”
In a pool report after the game, official Tony Brothers said the review wasn’t conclusive enough to overturn the call on the floor.
“The play was ruled a 2-point field goal on the floor during live play,” Brothers said. “After video review, there wasn’t clear and conclusive evidence to overturn it from a 2 to a 3, and that’s why it stood as a 2-point field goal.”
James felt the video evidence was clear enough. As soon as Brothers announced the ruling to the in-arena crowd, James immediately went to the scorer’s table and pointed to the replay monitor.
“It’s super frustrating in the sense of what the hell we got a replay for?” James said. “What do we have replay for if even the replay gets it wrong? It’s like, who’s the part of the replay center? Like, do we got robots in there that’s making the Teslas? What’s going on? If you don’t see that, that is clear, that is clear.”
The frustration came after James said he woke up with an illness and stayed in bed until 4:30 p.m. when he got ready to head to the arena.
“I took a few more naps and then I finally just got out of bed at like 4:30, got a shower,” James said. “It helped me a little bit. Caught the 5 o’clock bus and, I guess, felt OK to play. I felt I could make some plays to help us win the ballgame.”
The Lakers play Sunday afternoon for the second of a back-to-back in New Orleans. James said he was unsure if he’d be play to play Sunday and would wait to see how he feels a day later.