Do athletes feelings matter? The Lebron James Question

Lebron James

Timing is everything. It’s the difference between a perfect pass from quarterback to receiver or a dropped ball. It’s the difference between a home run and a strikeout. It’s also the difference between a good question and a bad one.

Last night was one of those questions of timing. During a post-game interview after Lebron James dropped 46/12/5, he was asked about the passing of Spurs Head Coach Greg Popovich’s wife, Erin. Lebron stayed as composed as one could in such a situation and delivered a heartfelt response.

Twitter immediately exploded with attacks on Turner reporter Allie LaForce, who asked the question, and her name began trending on the app. Others came to her defense by explaining she warned Lebron about the shocking news before going live. In this instance, I don’t necessarily blame Allie. It was more than likely not her decision to ask the question at that moment. Producers often direct sideline reporters on what they want asked. What I genuinely want to know is, why? Why was that question asked at that specific moment? Is it simply TNT wanted to be the first to ask?

ESPN reporter Bomani Jones felt rather passionate about the timing of the question.

I’ve had this struggle for years. “Should I ask that now?” “Is this the right time?”

Honestly, I haven’t always made the right choice. I recently asked a professional athlete about a playoff loss that ended his season a week after the game, and he short answered the rest of the interview. On the flip side, my personality leans towards not asking the flashy or edgy question, and that often means missing out on a really good response.

For Allie, many will say she is a journalist, and that is her job, but is THAT her job? She is standing next to an athlete who achieved history on the court just moments ago. No one had ever scored as many points in six minutes of a playoff game as Lebron James. Is sticking to questions about the game such a bad idea? It too often appears journalists in sports forget these are people. Reporters in this industry want so badly to get retweets or views that they completely disregard how it may affect someone else. Plenty even thrives on the negative since it proves to be profitable. If it bleeds, it leads, right?

Don’t take this as me thinking reporters should stop asking tough questions. Those questions often give the world insight where they otherwise wouldn’t have it. All I ask is for journalists to consider, “What do I hope to get out of asking this question?”

Lebron responded more thoughtfully *shocker* to the passing of Erin Popovich while at the podium following the game and on his media company’s Twitter account.


By: Caleb Johnson  

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