Because of their status as the NBA’s most popular team, there’s a constant source of speculation and rumors surrounding the team that isn’t there for other franchises. The consequence of that is that, far too often, non-stories become stories through sheer force of will.
One of the more recent examples of that came on the night LeBron James broke the all-time scoring record. As he broke the record, all of the Lakers on the bench celebrated the moment except for Anthony Davis.
Instead of applying any sort of rational thinking to the situation, fans instead determined that LeBron and AD must not actually like one another. And fans are going to be shocked to learn that isn’t the truth!
In a recent piece by Dave McMenamin of ESPN, AD talked about that moment and the truth behind it.
What the cameras missed, Davis said, was him trudging to the Crypto.com Arena tunnel by the bench shortly before the record-setting shot to let out a scream of frustration after seeing his team muddle through another uninspiring night against a middling opponent, knowing every game would matter down the stretch. By the time Davis came back to the court, he said he was in a bit of a daze and unaware James’ history-making possession was unfolding.
“From the outside looking in, they don’t know,” Davis said of his perceived bad body language. “It’s not for them to know seriously, but me and Bron are fine. You can tell when we had our moments, for sure. But I think it’s people just looking for a story.”
He was unwavering in describing their bond.
“Me and Bron have one of the best relationships I think in the NBA as far as duos or teammates, regardless,” Davis said. “But they don’t see that. They don’t see the stuff we do off the court and time we hang out with each other. They see on-court stuff.”
Instead of assuming Davis was frustrated in how he was playing or how the team was performing — both logical conclusions to jump to and, you know, the truth — fans went for the more ridiculous option because it sounds more dramatic.
Unfortunately, nonsense takes crossing over into toxicity is a recurring trend within the fan base of late. Davis has been often attacked by fans with this situation no different. It even led to him deleting his Instagram.
Again, instead of looking in the mirror for their role in all of this, fans just changed their focus to other players with Malik Beasley recently having to address fans on his Instagram.
Malik Beasley's pinned comment on his son's birthday post (IG) pic.twitter.com/lBqoprVnsu— ⁶ (@OVOLakeShow) March 27, 2023
It’s not specific to this season that players feel fans have crossed the line. Notably, Russell Westbrook drew his line in the sand last season because of fan criticism ... which ultimately did little to quell that criticism.
Even if the argument is this type of behavior exists in every fanbase, and there are just more Lakers fans so it seems worse — an argument that I would push back on — that doesn’t make it acceptable. Social media has only increased this level and type of scrutiny.
The “bullying works” phrase stinks. Just because these guys are athletes does not mean they should expect criticism like this. Be better as human beings, let alone fans.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.