CLEVELAND– They refer to him as King James, and he’s even been called the next Michael Jordan. Despite these accolades, twenty-two-year-old phenom LeBron James announced his retirement last night after being called for a bullshit foul. James, who signed a contract extension that will pay him $60 million over the next three years beginning in the 2007-2008 season, rejected the shot of Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson with eleven minutes left in the third quarter of last night’s playoff game. The referee thought that James got part of Stevenson’s hand, and he blew his whistle. “That’s bullshit,” shouted James. “I quit!” He then stormed off of the basketball court and went home, not even bothering to clean out his locker. One hour after the game, James’s manager, Owen Planchart, announced that the referee’s decision to call a bullshit foul on James caused him to retire in frustration. “LeBron is very upset right now,” said Planchart. “I would like to believe that he’s just overreacting and that he’s going to change his mind, but I seriously doubt it. It seems like he really means it.”
Some of James’s teammates, who still managed to achieve a 97-82 victory despite James’s abrupt exit, are disappointed in his decision. “You don’t just decide to retire in the middle of the playoffs because the ref calls a foul on you,” said Cavaliers guard Drew Gooden. “Never have I seen such an act of selfishness.” But surprisingly, some of James’s teammates agree with his decision. Said forward Donyell Marshall, “Don’t get me wrong. LeBron obviously contributes a lot to this organization, but that was one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen. I would have retired too.”
The referee who made the call was none other than Lee Romero, the man who sparked controversy last week when he failed to penalize Raptors point guard Darrick Martin for traveling, despite the fact that he took 144 steps without dribbling the basketball. After that particular game, Romero admitted that he’s been suffering from vision problems.
The Cavaliers have a 2-0 lead in the series.
April 28, 2007