Sunday , May , 31 , 2009 Oly Sandor

LeBron James should’ve shaken hands with Dwight Howard and Orlando Magic

Years ago, the Detroit Pistons stormed off the court after getting swept by the upstart Chicago Bulls in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. No handshake. No courtesy congratulations. Nothing. Only the classy Joe Dumars acknowledged his opponent. Those Pistons, led by Isiah Thomas, were nasty. They deserve respect because they banged, bullied, and defended their way to back-to-back Titles during the league’s glory days. Yet when it was time to act like a champion and respect the Bulls, they fell short …


LeBron James should've shaken hands with Dwight Howard and Orlando MagicBreaking NBA news mixed with analysis …

Their News: "It’s hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them," he said. "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." (Associated Press via ESPN)

Our Very Quick Analysis: I didn’t like it then. And I don’t like it now.

Years ago, the Detroit Pistons stormed off the court after getting swept by the upstart Chicago Bulls in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. No handshake. No courtesy congratulations. Nothing. Only the classy Joe Dumars acknowledged his opponent.

Those Pistons, led by Isiah Thomas, were nasty. They deserve respect because they banged, bullied, and defended their way to back-to-back Titles during the league’s glory days. Yet, when it was time to act like a champion and respect the Bulls, they fell short.

James’ intentions weren’t malicious like Zeke’s crew, but he still behaved badly. Sure, he was upset. And sure, the result had to sting. Everyone can appreciate that. But being a professional means sucking up the loss and acting like, well, a professional.

Following game six, James absolutely should’ve found Dwight Howard and given him a half-hug. Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkolgu, and all the other Magic players also deserved a handshake, pat on the shoulder, or something. Frankly, sending an email the next day doesn’t cut it.

In Sunday’s post-season address, James justified his actions by essentially saying as a winner he can’t immediately congratulate somebody who beats him. I disagree. Real champions, even though they all hate losing, acknowledge defeat appropriately and learn from it.

For once, James, who has done almost everything right since entering the NBA as a high-profile teenager, is in the wrong.

Was James wrong? Should he have recognized Howard and the Magic after the game? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of StickWare