For anyone who has watched LeBron James play over his career, it’s a routine sight to see LeBron turn to the ref to argue about getting fouled after he drives to the basket. It happens on a nightly basis. The complaining usually insights disgust from many viewers, especially the fans of his opposing teams. While those people may believe LeBron is already receiving superstar treatment when it comes to foul calls, the numbers actually say the opposite.
Korver described the whole situation perfectly in his on-court interview after the game.
— Cleveland Sports Talk (@CLEsportsTalk) November 29, 2017
In the locker room, LeBron expressed his own frustration to the media about this topic as well.
“I think I’m one of the league leaders in points in the paint. I drive just as much as anybody. It’s like almost they’re trying to turn me into a jump shooter. I can’t be a jump shooter. I’m not a jump shooter. I watch games every single night and I see jump shooters going to the line double-digit times every single night. And I’m not a jump shooter, and I get fouled just like every body else do.”
Prior to the ejection, LeBron had only taken one foul shot in the game, even though 11 of his 16 shot attempts were in the paint. Plus, that lone free throw attempt took place within the first 30 seconds of the game. Now, just because you’re living in the paint doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting fouled every time. Though, I’d say it’s highly unlikely you haven’t been fouled with how much contact happens down low.
This isn’t just a one game occurrence for LeBron either. In fact, LeBron is averaging a career-low in free throw attempts this season at 5.4 per game. He’s averaging a career high in shots per game this year, so that drop isn’t due to a lack of shots at the rim. With an average of 15.0 paint points per game, LeBron is second in the NBA behind Giannis, who averages 18.8 per game. Yet, Giannis goes to the line almost three more times per game than LeBron. LeBron’s 5.4 free throw attempts per game is ranked 21st in the NBA and is even lower than his own teammate’s, Kevin Love.
Hopefully, this ejection sheds some light on the disparity in foul calls between LeBron and the NBA’s other superstar players.
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