LeBron James stunned Friday night with such a prodigious dunk over rookie Ben McLemore that he later went out of his way to express his remorse.
Speaking to the Palm Beach Post about his longtime friend from Missouri, James said,
“It sucks that it was him, too, because I like him. I’ve been talking to him since he was in high school. So it sucks."
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Certainly not the first nor the last to suffer the wrath of James' dunk, McLemore took it in stride, laughing, almost as if he expected it. “Just knowing LeBron, I knew they weren’t going to call that [the charge],” he said. “I was just playing my defensive principles — going in, being the low man and taking the charge."
Commentators and fans across the Internet also met the occasion with good humor.
ESPN recreated the moment with a celebratory Vine video which replaces McLemore with Frosty the Snowman, writing "Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul! Until LeBron posterized him and melted all his flow."
Some speculated that maybe he could have fouled James, or stepped out of the way, but as ESPN's Tom Haberstroh noted
, "The play showcased a classic dilemma in the game: Do you bravely challenge a player launching for a dunk? Or just let him roll through — maybe the cowardly thing to do in some eyes — to avoid the potential humiliation?"
Answering his own question, Haberstroh points out that "one of the foremost charge-takers in all of NBA history," veteran Shane Battier, had some post-game advice for McLemore: “You get out of the way. Even if you go for the foul, you’re going to hurt yourself. At some point, you just cut your losses and do the fake trip and or [sic] something and say, ‘Oh well, I tried.’"
In a seeming windfall of good fortune, some of the spotlight was taken off McLemore as SportsCenter and SBNation surfaced an equally brutal video of high school baller Seventh Woods dunking on a rival, asking the Twitterverse to weigh in on who had the night's best dunk.
Here's James' actual dunk.
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