Trail Blazers

LeBron James whines about the play-in a year after championing it

Trail Blazers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing the trend of whining about the play-in only when your team is affected, LeBron James followed in the footsteps of Mark Cuban Sunday evening.

After the Lakers dropped their sixth game in seven contests and falling into a three-way tie for fifth in the West, LeBron James claimed that whoever came up with the play-in tournament should lose their job.

"Whoever came up with that s--- needs to be fired"

LeBron James on the play-in tournament

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However, a year ago, LeBron said he would enjoy a play-in tournament to determine the final playoff berths during the suspension of the 2019-20 season. You know, when the Lakers were the top seed in the West and their playoff opponent would need to participate in the event.

[RELATED]: LeBron James wants a play-in tournament for final NBA Playoff berths

"One thing you can't just do is go straight to the playoffs, because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position," said James during the Road Trippin' Podcast in March 2020.

"You got Portland. You got Memphis...New Orleans and Sacramento tinkering around if there's five or ten games left...why not those guys battle it out? Make them play each other all five games?"


Obviously, LeBron made that opinion during the dead period last year but his rationale was because the teams did not play a full season, the teams should be able to play their way into the playoffs.

Well, the 2020-21 NBA season is not a full season either, it's actually ten games shorter than typical at 72 games. 

When the 2019-20 season was going to end sooner than the full 82 games, the play-in was championed by James. Now, he thinks it's a fireable offense. 

Also worth noting, the play-in tournament agreed upon following a negotiation between the NBA and the National Basketball Player's Association, an organization LeBron served as vice president of for four years before getting replaced in 2019.

Simply, if LeBron did not want the play-in to happen, he, as the face of the league, could have pushed for a harder negotiation to ensure just the top-eight teams make it in each conference. Instead, he and the rest of the players union agreed to the format.

Since then, between Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and now LeBron, people who signed off on the idea when they thought their team would be competing for home-court advantage are suddenly against the format after a disappointing season. 

How about instead of whining about a format you signed off on, you go out and win games. 

Since LeBron returned to the court, the Lakers are 0-2 losing to the Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors. Those two teams have a combined record of 54-75, a win percentage of 41.8%. 

Oh, and both games were at home in Staples Center. 

If the Lakers hate the play-in, they can simply not lose to teams who are ten games under 0.500 and ensure a top-six seed in the Western Conference.