Tuesday , Jan , 08 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Taunting LeBron James Can Be Costly, Just Ask Chris Bosh & Toronto Raptors

At the time, Jordan was the NBA’s biggest star, while Payton was a cocky rookie. That didn’t stop The Glove from engaging His Airness in a little friendly banter.

Jordan didn’t take to Payton’s chatter. So the next night he hawked the young point guard and embarrassed him in front of his home fans. Point made. I’m guessing the Toronto Raptors hadn’t heard the urban legend about taunting superstars. On Sunday, they learned the hard way …

Taunting LeBron James Can Be Costly, Just Ask Chris Bosh & Toronto RaptorsThe AM Take: The great ones make you pay for taunting. Years ago, I heard an urban legend about Michael Jordan’s first encounter with Gary Payton.

The two initially met at a Seattle nightclub. The Bulls were playing the Sonics the following evening in an exhibition game.

At the time, Jordan was the NBA’s biggest star, while Payton was a cocky rookie. That didn’t stop The Glove from engaging His Airness in a little friendly banter.

Jordan didn’t take to Payton’s chatter. So the next night he hawked the young point guard and embarrassed him in front of his home fans.

Point made.

I’m guessing the Toronto Raptors hadn’t heard the urban legend about taunting superstars. On Sunday, they learned the hard way:

According to highlights captured on the Cavaliers’ broadcast, it appears James took particular note of Bosh’s girlfriend after she teased him about missing a breakaway dunk midway through the third quarter with the Raptors leading by 11.

It was part of an uncharacteristically cold third quarter for James. The NBA’s leading scorer was 2-for-9 in the quarter while shooting at the basket from near the Raptors’ bench and Bosh’s girlfriend’s seat.

But that changed quickly. Shooting on the same basket, James hit eight of his 10 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter, including four of five three-point shots, as well as assisting on three more three-pointers as the Cavaliers stormed back.

Late in the game, James had the last word, as the cameras caught him approaching the corner where Bosh’s friends and family were sitting and saying, "It’s your fault, it’s your fault."

Besides, Bosh’s girlfriend wasn’t alone in taunting the player known as King James. According to CBC sideline reporter Elliotte Friedman, Raptors guards T.J. Ford and Darrick Martin, both inactive for the game, were heckling James. (Globe and Mail)

(Here are highlights of James’ fourth quarter. He finished the game with 39 points.)

Blowing a twenty point lead at home is bad enough. But this loss could be particularly damning for Toronto, who have yet to find their rhythm and are tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland, however, is hitting its stride. The Cavs have won four consecutive games and have shaken off their early season chemistry issues to climb the standings.

Most importantly, James showed Toronto and the entire NBA that taunting superstars can be costly.

Should Bosh’s girlfriend have taunted James?  Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts or hit us up in our fan forum. Click here to get his AM Take each morning and subscribe to his blog.