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LeBron James appears to fire back at Mike Malone, Nuggets in Instagram post

LeBron James seems to be tired of the Nuggets — mainly head coach Mike Malone — bringing up the Lakers constantly during the championship celebration.

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

During the course of celebrating their first NBA championship in franchise history, the Denver Nuggets have made a habit of bringing up LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, who they swept in the Western Conference Finals en route to the title.

Ahead of their championship parade on Thursday, head coach Mike Malone went on ESPN and cracked jokes about retiring, a not-so-subtle shot at James’ post-loss retirement comments. At the title celebration, a local broadcaster called Malone “The Lakers’ daddy” to raucous cheers from Nuggets fans in the crowd.

Judging by the caption under his Instagram post on Friday, it appears James is sick of it:

Let’s break this down:

  • “In Europe for the past few weeks minding my business” — this is clearly an effort to make Nuggets star Nikola Jokic jealous, as he had made it clear he just wanted to go home as soon as possible, and James beat him to the continent. Jokic may have won the Conference Finals, but LeBron got the real prize: An earlier trip to Europe.
  • “I hear I’m on your mind that much huh???” — This is pretty clearly a reference to how much Malone, an assistant coach with James’ first-stint Cavaliers teams, has been talking about his former star and his current team.
  • “Enjoy your light but just know I’m the SUN.” — LeBron has moved on from retirement talk, and has decided to take a buyout and join Kevin Durant and Devin Booker in Phoenix to reunite with his guy Frank Vogel and beat the Nuggets next year.

OK, so only one of those was serious, but I’ll let you guess which.

In all honesty, is it a little weird for the Nuggets to be talking about a team they swept in the Conference Finals this much after winning a championship several weeks later? Yeah, kind of. Is it surprising that LeBron is annoyed that he’s being poked fun at? No, not really. Does Mike Malone probably read Twitter too much from his burner account? Pretty clearly yeah (Mikey, if you’re seeing this, please just log off and spend some time with your family, buddy, seriously, you don’t have to read every single Lakers post).

But with all that said: The Nuggets won the championship. They get to talk as much crap as they want. That’s the right they earned by winning. Even if LeBron doesn’t like that, he also probably knows in his heart of hearts that Instagram posts aren’t going to change it.

Only beating them on the court will.

You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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