In a Twitter post written on Wednesday, June 16, James explained that the excessive amount of injuries taking place in the season isn’t “part of the game,” but is a result of overworked players — something the Los Angeles Lakers star says he cautioned would happen.
“They all didn’t wanna listen to me about the start of the season,” James explained. “I knew exactly what would happen. I only wanted to protect the well being of the players which ultimately is the PRODUCT & BENEFIT of OUR GAME! These injuries isn’t just “PART OF THE GAME”. It’s the lack of PURE.”
He continued, “RIM REST rest before starting back up. 8, possibly 9 ALL-STARS has missed Playoff games(most in league history). This is the best time of the year for our league and fans but missing a ton of our fav players. It’s insane. If there’s one person that know about the body and how it works all year round it’s ME! I speak for the health of all our players and I hate to see this many injuries this time of the year. Sorry fans wish you guys were seeing all your fav guys right now.”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass addressed James’ post in a statement obtained by the media outlet. Bass said that “Injury rates were virtually the same this season as they were during the 2019-20 season while starter-level and All-Star players missed games due to injury at similar rates as the last three seasons.” He added, “While injuries are an unfortunate reality of our game, we recognize the enormous sacrifices NBA players and teams have made to play through this pandemic.”
However, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton confirmed that there had indeed been an increase in injuries among players this year that was not COVID-19 related — an average of 5.1 players, to be exact. The number is the highest since the league started keeping track back in the 2009-10 season. Pelton reported that the previous record was 4.8, showing a 5 percent increase.
While many may argue that the NBA is a business and was hurt tremendously by the ongoing pandemic, James says he understands. “And I know all about the business side too/factors so don’t even try me! I get it,” he wrote.
James had been very vocal about the league’s quick transition from the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, to a more compact 72-game regular season. “I was like, ‘Wow.’ And I said, ‘Oh, s—,’ ” James said on Dec. 7 when asked about turnaround.
The 2020-2021 season started in December of 2020 while the season in the bubble ended in October of the same year. The NBA players typically have anywhere between 4-6 months off while this season they roughly had two months off.
The shooting forward is still recovering from an ankle sprain he suffered in mid-March. After losing to the Phoenix Suns in game six earlier this month, the Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs.