Immaturity Costs $25K

I thought I should briefly follow up on the LeBron James saga because it seems it has now come to a conclusion -- at least for this year. NBA Commish David Stern decided to fine LeBron $25,000 for his inexcusable behavior following Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic, when he sulked off the court and refused to shake the hands of the opponents who had just vanquished him and his Cavaliers. Initially, Stern met with LeBron and decided not to fine him. But after reconsideration, he changed his mind and now LeBron has to write a fairly hefty check. Ostensibly, the fine is because he refused to talk to the press after the game. But in reality, it's an indictment of his behavior, and I say that's a good thing.

Of course, LeBron had Stern apologize for him with this comment: "He asked that I express to the media, the Magic and the fans his apology, and particularly the young fans, because he knows he has a responsibility to all of our fans, and that sportsmanship is appropriate whether you win or whether you lose," Stern said. I guess LeBron can't offer an apology and sound contrite and remorseful, so he has to have the commissioner do it. Whatever. That's fine. At least he's being punished.

(Let me also award kudos to Stern for rescinding his initial decision not to chastise LeBron. It sends an outstanding message when the commissioner decides to lay a fairly heavy hand on his superstars, his breadwinners. So good for him. It's certainly something the NHL refuses to do because of it's spineless commissioner's office. Example: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin picked a fight with Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg at the end of Game 2 with less than five minutes remaining. By rule, any time a player instigates a fight with less than five minutes left in a game, he's supposed to be suspended for the next game. Where was Malkin for Game 3? On the ice. Not shocking. NHL commish Gary Bettman needs to learn how to mete out consistent justice, regardless of whom it's directed toward. I find the NHL a much more fun league to watch, and the NHL playoffs far exceed the NBA playoffs in excitement, but Stern knows how to run an effective league, and Bettman clearly does not.)

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