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LeBron James chastises Isaiah Thomas jersey burners

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Five

BOSTON, MA - MAY 25: Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics talks with LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Cavaliers defeated the Celtics 135-102 in Game Five of the 2017 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 25, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Cleveland Cavaliers defeat the Boston Celtics 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the 2017 NBA Finals. 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 Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

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After the Celtics traded – traded! – Isaiah Thomas to the Cavaliers, a couple people burned Thomas jerseys:

I’m unconvinced these are Boston fans showing sincere resentment toward Thomas, who played his heart out for the Celtics, including in the playoffs following his sister’s death. Burning someone’s jersey, especially in such a ridiculous fashion, is a quick path to fleeting fame.

But LeBron James still deemed it necessary to stick up for his new teammate (and Gordon Hayward, who left the Jazz for the Celtics amid very scrutiny from Utah fans).


LeBron’s general point about the hypocrisy of how players are treated is spot on, though I’d argue burning someone’s jersey is a relatively harmless way to show dissatisfaction when he leaves your favorite team. LeBron seems to be working as a players union vice president more than anything here.

You could also argue LeBron – whose jerseys were burned when he left Cleveland in 2010 and Miami in 2014 – is also trying to change the narrative ahead of leaving the Cavs again next summer. But not even I am that cynical.