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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calls out LeBron for “big balls” celebration: “GOATs don’t dance”

Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 24: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates in the 124-116 OT win against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on November 24, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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LeBron James celebrated a recent deep 3 over Myles Turner with the “big balls” dance, which earned LeBron a $15,000 fine.

In his latest piece for Substack, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calls out LeBron for that celebration, saying it’s beneath him.

“For me, winning is enough. Why do you need to do a stupid, childish dance and disrespect the other team on the court? It doesn’t make sense. GOATs don’t dance.”

What I love about the more public, willing-to-speak-out Kareem we have seen the past couple of years is that he an antidote to the “get off my lawn” former players that populate some high profile NBA commentary spots. He wants to see the players speak out, he is more in tune with the evolution of the game, and his political opinions are thoughtful and insightful.

This comment is the exception to that. Some fans might want more of an “I’ve been here before” attitude from LeBron. Personally, I want more player emotion — that is part of the game’s draw. Players should play with passion and show that passion. If that celebration takes forms not everyone loves, well, so be it. There is no one way for a legend or a GOAT to behave.

Also, we need to stop leaving Kareem out of the GOAT conversation — he can stake a claim as strong as anyone.